Hannah Van Otterloo — Staff Writer
Graduating from college brings to a close what some consider the best four years of their life. For the class of 2020, the threat of COVID-19 has affected both the last few months of their education and the graduation ceremony itself.
Michael Vander Wal finished classes in fall of 2019, but he is disappointed at not having a graduation. “When I packed up and left after first semester I knew that…I would get to say one final goodbye when we all walked across the stage together. Well, now that can’t happen, and it is really quite depressing knowing that I was unable to say a final goodbye to so many people that have impacted my life.”
Dordt faculty, staff, and student leaders had to think outside the box to find solution: a graduation in a box and an online ceremony.
“As far as my reactions to online graduation go, I am quite conflicted,” Vander Wal said. “Considering the circumstances, I do think that this is the best thing that Dordt could do.”
Dordt mailed boxes to seniors containing a graduation cap and tassel, commencement program, diploma cover, a “first graduating class of Dordt University” shirt, and a Dordt notebook from the Alumni Association.
While this abrupt ending has left many seniors feeling as though their college career is incomplete, Dordt’s attempt to recognize their achievements has been appreciated. In addition to their online commencement, seniors look forward to participating in a graduation celebration over Defender Days this fall with a “Year 0 Reunion” concluding the festivities. President Hoekstra has also invited graduating students to drop by and take a photo with him when they’re next in the area.
“Although I am not ecstatic about having a virtual commencement ceremony, I am grateful for all Dordt is doing to make graduation as meaningful as possible for the class of 2020” said Hayley Visser, a graduating senior majoring in elementary education, “I know not everyone will be able to attend next fall, but just having that weekend to look forward to and the opportunity to get some closure on our incredible years at Dordt that just had to end a little too soon has made me all the more thankful for DU.”
Dordt University’s online graduation ceremony was held Friday, May 8, at 11a.m. CDT.