Due to COVID-19, the University of Georgia canceled its spring 2020 commencement for undergraduate and graduate students. On April 17, however, UGA rescheduled its in-person ceremonies. Now, the undergraduate ceremony will be held on Oct. 16, and the graduate ceremony will be held on Dec. 18, assuming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deems it safe to do so.
The Red & Black asked graduating UGA students how they felt about the new graduation plans. The interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.
Marie Walker is a history major from Norcross, Georgia.
“I am happy that they rescheduled it … It’s a different time, obviously, so I hope that everyone who would like to can get back to make it. I know a lot of people can't, but I’m not sure if it would have been safe before that. We aren't sure if it's going to be safe then. So, I was personally happy about the decision, because I think I’ll be able to make it back.”
Danna Downs is an applied mathematics major from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
“I’m actually excited that it got rescheduled. I had gotten to the point where I’d accepted that maybe seniors weren’t going to get to be celebrated … There could be the potential for it to be canceled again, but I know for myself, personally, I would be understanding [if it were canceled] … It’ll be hard for students who were out of state to come back. I know one of my best friends is starting [graduate] school in another country, and so it's not like she'll be able to come back ... But, just given the circumstance, I feel like that was the best that [UGA] could do.”
Whitney Makokha is a health promotion major from Tucker, Georgia.
“Even though it’s very late in the year and the majority of our seniors are going to move on to our next step of our lives, I’m actually very happy that the university took the time to still try to celebrate us in some way … I know a lot of seniors, myself included, were very disappointed hearing that our commencement was canceled because after four years of grinding and doing such hard work … By the end of it, you want to celebrate it in some way.”
Nosayaba Okungbowa is a psychology major from Dacula, Georgia.
“I feel that it was a good decision to reschedule it … October does seem so far away, but if that’s what we need to do to keep other people safe, then that is fine by me.”
Montana Dean is a theater major from Temple, Georgia.
“I’m glad that they moved it because they are going to be able to honor [seniors]. It was really devastating when it got canceled. I understand it had to be, but when you go to school for four years and work really hard, you kind of look forward to it. The only thing that kind of sucks about it is that, as things start picking up and getting better, most of us are going to have jobs by then. And who’s to say if our companies or our bosses would even allow us to attend our own graduation if we’re working."
Heath Allen is a fashion merchandising major from Effingham County, Georgia.
“I think it’s good that they rescheduled it. I know that a lot of people really pushed for that. I am curious to see what percentage [of people] come back in October. I don’t know if everyone will stick around locally. But I’m glad they rescheduled it — at least it gives everyone the option to come back if they wanted to.”