The hundreds of graduates who walked across the Trojan Arena stage during last week’s three-part commencement ceremony knew they were taking part in a unique event in Troy University history.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures and masks were implemented, and three different ceremonies were held.
“It was very odd to begin with. You could see hints of the traditional ceremony, but you could also see changes as well, and rightfully so,” said Allison Woodfin, a communication studies graduate. “We’ve all graduated, I was a May graduate in fact, so a lot of us have been graduated for months, but it was great to be able to come back and celebrate that and go through the official ceremony process, although it is a slight bit different. Social distancing guidelines were very well executed. It didn’t change the true meaning of the ceremony, just the feel.”
For adult education graduate Christopher Holloway, who started his collegiate journey in 2014, missing the ceremony wasn’t an option.
“It was extremely important,” Holloway said. “Even in the midst of COVID, I made sure I was able to complete my coursework, because it has been a long journey and I wanted to make sure I was able to complete it regardless of the circumstances.”
Several graduates said they noticed the ceremony’s more muted tone, but appreciated the opportunity to walk across the stage.
“It was a lot quieter, maybe a little less spectacular, but it still had a lot of value to it,” said Andrew Farr, a surveying and geomatics sciences graduate.
The ceremony offered a chance for graduates to reflect back on the hard work that brought them to the stage.
“It really meant a lot to me, because I know I and all the others have put in four years or more of hard work, so it really means a lot that TROY gave us a chance to enjoy some kind of graduation,” said education major Beverly Motes. “I have a sense of satisfaction, and I’m just proud of all the hard work that got me to this moment.”