Endicott College has just released their plans for the upcoming commencement of the Class of 2021, taking place in May.
As of Mar. 1, the ceremony will be taking place in-person on May 22, but with restrictions. Due to state guidelines around the number of people able to gather outside amidst COVID-19, guests will not be allowed at the special event.
The class will be split into various locations around campus, separated based on the number of students in particular schools and programs. The ceremonies will all be taking place simultaneously.
Bryan Cain, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Endicott College, said the school will be purchasing an interactive streaming platform called Socio. The social website will allow guests to see the entire ceremony in a more advanced and robust way, as opposed to Zoom.
“Of course it’s not what any of us really want. We’d love to be able to have the greatest commencement ceremony of all time, but I think that this is a great compromise.” said Cain. “It’s better than cancelling or having to do something completely virtual like we’re seeing other schools and institutions do.”
Cain said many happenings at commencement will likely be pre-recorded, in addition to a hybrid format. Screens will be available at each location in order for students to see pre-recorded messages. From there, the typical calling names to receive diplomas will be conducted.
All Covid regulations will still be in effect, with social distancing restrictions and everyone having to be masked. Cain said that the Class of 2021 will be receiving a special class mask to wear during the event.
Endicott’s testing protocol will still be in place before the graduation, but no details have been provided regarding the exact way the college will do this.
Endicott will be hiring 20 to 25 photographers to take photos of students around campus, which then will be uploaded to an FTP site, allowing students to download them, said Cain.
The commencement speaker has yet to be announced, but Cain said it’s a high profile individual.
Students will still be able to mingle after the separate ceremonies, just as long as the crowd size remains small, said Cain.
Cain noted that President Dr. Steven DiSalvo discussed these plans with Endicott’s student government and Presidential ambassadors, who expressed support for the idea.
It has also been decided that the Class of 2020 will not have a graduation ceremony, but instead have celebratory event programming at the 2021 Homecoming and Family Weekend on Oct. 1-3.
Cain said the college surveyed a large number of the Class of 2020, who felt a celebration would be more adequate. There will also be multiple events taking place for the class, in which students will be able to walk across the stage and receive an exclusive Class of 2020 gift.
These plans are subject to change, said Cain, as the college will continue to look at the Governor’s Covid regulations and restrictions. He said Endicott will consistently keep an eye on the happenings, and if any changes occur the college will comply right up to the very last day.
Vaccine rollouts might also have an effect, but Cain does not see that being a reality due to the state’s lack of productivity regarding vaccines.
Senior week plans are also still up in the air, but are in discussion, said Cain.
“We are really committed to ensuring that families can celebrate as closely as they possibly can,” said Cain. “I’m really excited that we can get students in person to have a commencement altogether on campus.”