EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University canceled commencement ceremonies for nearly 14,000 graduates due to COVID-19.
"My mom and I are sitting on the couch, I'm wearing my full cap and gown because I was like, 'I paid $45 for it,' like, I'm going to wear it," MSU 2020 graduate Kayleigh Garrison said, describing her graduation day. "My cat's sitting on my lap, and it's the most like depressing moment, honestly."
In September, the university will make up for it by hosting in-person ceremonies for those who didn't get the chance last year.
"We're really excited to provide this opportunity," university spokesperson Emily Guerrant said. "We know it was disappointing for so many graduates last year and their families to not have an in-person ceremony to celebrate their success and their graduation as Spartans, and we told them that we would provide an opportunity in the future."
All graduates from 2020, along with spring 2021 master's, educational specialist and doctoral graduates, will be invited to ceremonies between Sept. 17 to 20.
"We're not sure yet how many will make the trek back to campus, or if they have left the area," Guerrant said. "We're trying to give them all the logistical information they would need to make those travel decisions."
Graduates from summer 2021 semesters will have the option to attend the September ceremonies or participate in the fall 2021 ceremonies in December.
"We were really happy with the success of our in-person graduation this past May for our 2021 graduates," Guerrant said, referring to the many small outdoor ceremonies held in April and May. "That really gave us the last set of data information and confidence that we would need to say, 'Okay, now we can pull off a 2020 event as well.'"
"I'm like in disbelief that this is happening," Garrison said. "I kind of just gave up on it. I was like, 'I'm never going to graduate, it is what it is.' I always hoped that MSU would reschedule but never actually thought they would. So, I definitely plan on going."
The ceremonies will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center and will be live-streamed on MSU’s commencement website. More details will be released closer to the ceremonies.
Guerrant said she is hopeful that, by December, MSU will be back to traditional graduation ceremonies.