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Lindsey Wilson College holds first-ever outdoor commencement
It was an exciting weekend for the Lindsey Wilson College Class of 2021. For the first time in college history, commencement exercises were held outdoors. The three ceremonies, held at Blue Raider Stadium, took place on the 50-yard line with folding chairs positioned six feet apart to comply with social distancing guidelines.
This was the first in-person commencement held since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
"I know one of the biggest disappointments for our students was the College's decision to forgo in-person commencement exercises because of the pandemic," said LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. "With guidance from the CDC, the local health department and with what we have learned over the past year -- we were confident we could hold this graduation safely while at the same time celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of our graduates."
Over the span of three days and four ceremonies, including an optional virtual ceremony, Lindsey Wilson College awarded a total of 260 graduate and undergraduate degrees. Combined with the 363 degrees awarded in December at winter commencement, the Class of 2021 was a total of 624 graduates.
Tatiana Williams from Lexington, Ky., became the second-ever cadet to commission from LWC's Army ROTC program.
Four guests were allowed per graduate and guests were asked to sit in "family" groups for safety. Everyone who entered Blue Raider Stadium wore masks, completed a health screening and a temperature check.
LWC women's basketball center Molly Stone from Madisonville, Kentucky, said an in-person ceremony was important to her and her family.
"I'm just very grateful LWC was able to have an in-person ceremony so we could come together to celebrate our milestones and accomplishments over these years," said Stone who earned her degree in human services and counseling. "The ceremony means a lot to me. I'm a first-generation college student so my family seeing me walk across the stage is just very important."
In addition to the ceremonies held on campus, LWC's School of Professional Counseling and educational outreach team organized live virtual pinning ceremonies for LWC's graduates from the extended and online programs.
On Thursday, 18 graduates from LWC's nursing program were recognized during a socially distanced ceremony held in Biggers Sports Center. Students who earned a bachelor of science in nursing were pinned and awards for excellence and service were bestowed.
On Sunday, members of LWC's executive administration along with President Luckey held an impromptu commencement ceremony for the senior members of the Lindsey Wilson football program that had to miss the on-campus ceremony to prepare for an appearance in the NAIA national football championship finals. The ceremony was held at the site of the championship game in Grambling, LA.
"We are so happy to be with the students, live and in-person for this commencement celebration," Luckey said. "There are no graduates in the history of higher education that have had their college experience disrupted like the students of 2020 and 2021. They have persevered and have earned the right to have a proper ceremony."
This story was posted on 2021-05-12 10:43:28
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