STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — The coronavirus pandemic did not stop Mississippi State University from holding four in-person commencement ceremonies Wednesday.
The university socially distanced graduates and attendees, required masks and limited the number of attendees.
Mississippi State held in-person graduation ceremonies on Nov. 25, 2020.
MSU President Mark Keenum addressing graduates on Nov. 25, 2020.
More than 1,600 students received their diplomas inside Humphrey Coliseum.
University spokesman Sid Salter said MSU President Mark Keenum pushed for the in-person ceremonies because it’s important to students and their families.
In May, the university moved its spring commencements online.
“Dr. Keenum saw the level of disappointment, not only with the students but with their parents and grandparents, and I don’t think that he wanted to repeat that again,” Salter said.
Despite the limited crowd and masks, graduate Erika Lowery was happy to have something at all.
“I really almost cried,” she said. “I’ve been working for this for so long, so being able to actually get to graduate and actually be in-person to do it, it felt really great knowing they were going to try and put something together for us. It was great.”
With this year’s struggles, Salter said the university wanted to reward students.
“It was important that we find a way to let these students have some recognition and reward for getting to the finish line in what he [Keenum] called the most difficult semester in the history of the institution.”
MSU recorded each ceremony for on-demand viewing on its Facebook page.