Wytheville Community College (WCC) will be offering two opportunities for 2021 graduates to celebrate their academic accomplishments during a live “Cruise-Thru Celebration” on May 14 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., and WCC’s virtual commencement ceremony that will premiere on June 11 at 11:00 a.m.
Plans for graduation began earlier this semester. At that time, the state was still under strict COVID-19 safety guidelines; therefore, WCC planned accordingly and made the decision to offer graduates these two opportunities to celebrate their academic accomplishments.
While some colleges and universities are going to be able to host in-person graduation events, unfortunately WCC does not have physical facilities large enough to meet current guidelines for in-person graduation ceremonies recently released by the Governor’s office. In the past, WCC has rented the Wytheville Meeting Center, but with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if that facility were available, to ensure social distancing, it is likely that only graduates would be able to attend but not their families and friends.
The “Cruise-Thru Celebration” will give graduates an opportunity to safely celebrate with their family and friends in their own vehicles. Because the college is not able to host an in-person event, WCC is purchasing academic regalia for all 2021 graduates. During the “Cruise-Thru Celebration,” graduates will be able to pick up their graduation regalia, honor cords if applicable, and diploma covers. They will then be able to wear their regalia in photos that they may submit for the virtual commencement. Graduates will receive an email and/or text message with information about how they can order their regalia and submit photos.
The virtual commencement will premiere on WCC’s Facebook and YouTube accounts on June 11 and will feature special messages from the college president and a 2021 student speaker. Graduates will be given the opportunity to share a photo of themselves and a short message to be displayed on a special slide as their name is read. Information about submitting a photo and message will be shared directly to students via student email and/or text message.
For students who will be completing health programs, the college is working with each program to determine if it will be feasible to safely hold in-person pinning ceremonies for these smaller groups within established guidelines. Program leaders will share this information with students enrolled in these health programs as soon as information is available.
“We are extremely proud of our students and their accomplishments,” said Dr. Dean E. Sprinkle, WCC President. “Commencement is a milestone for students, and even though we cannot satisfy the guidelines for an in-person event, we want to honor our graduates through a Cruise-Thru Celebration and virtual commencement. The WCC Class of 2021 has faced challenges, but the graduates have succeeded, and we want to help them safely celebrate their accomplishments.”