Some FL college grads will have virtual commencements; others may have in-person celebrations in future

By: - April 20, 2020 11:56 am

Florida A&M University graduates. Wikimedia Commons photo

In addition to virtual spring commencement ceremonies, some Florida universities want to bring its spring graduates back to campus at a future date — when or if the coronavirus spread slows down to safe levels.

Last month, the State University System of Florida directed each university “to develop an alternate schedule or method of delivery” for graduation, given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I do believe a lot of them are holding virtual commencement festivities and some are tentatively scheduling in-person commencement for far into the fall (like December),” a state university system spokeswoman said in an email to the Phoenix.

New College of Florida, in Sarasota, has yet to announce a virtual spring graduation ceremony but is looking at hosting a traditional ceremony in the fall.

“We are working on a postponed in-person sunset commencement ceremony in December,” according to New College’s website.

Colleges in Tallahassee such as Florida A&M University and Florida State University are using StageClip, a company that produces video clips for online distribution, to provide a virtual graduation celebration for its graduates this spring.

But graduates’ “names will not be individually announced during the virtual ceremony due to time constraints,” according to FSU’s news release.

FAMU explains what a virtual ceremony will look like on its website. “In exchange for walking across the stage to accept your diploma, we create a slide with your photo, degree, honors and any personalized messages you provide,” the post states.

StageClip features an explanatory video of how virtual graduation ceremonies work including a short clip of FSU’s virtual experience, where a student shares an inspirational message.

“When it’s safe to do so, we hope our spring graduates will come back to campus so we can celebrate together,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a written statement.

“In the meantime, we hope they will participate in this virtual ceremony and share their commencement photos and videos with the university community via social media.”

The Florida Phoenix wrote earlier that the iconic cap-and-gown graduations were not going to take place for thousands of students, with the coronavirus  expanding in Florida.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.