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Commencement will be in-person May 2021

Each graduate will receive two tickets for family members

In a message to the Rollins community on Feb. 18, President Cornwell announced that the class of 2021 commencement ceremonies will be held in person. 

The commencement ceremonies for all three schools will be held over the weekend of May 8 at Showalter Field, just down the road from Rollins. Each graduate will receive two tickets to the in-person ceremony for their families. The graduates themselves will not need a ticket.

This will be the first in-person commencement ceremony to take place at Rollins since the pandemic began. According to Vice President of Communications and External Relations Sam Stark, who took a leading role in commencement planning, the announcement was the result of a months-long deliberation process in which various options for a safe, in-person ceremony were considered. 

Stark said, “With data and science as our driver, and with student input throughout the whole process, we came up with a safe plan for commencement.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still looming over the US, there will be strict safety measures in place for the proceedings. All attendees will be required to wear proper face masks, and seating at the ceremonies will be spread out to meet social distancing protocols. 

As commencement draws nearer, other guidelines may change or be introduced based on data from the CDC and Orange County.

“We do have other options [for commencement], but our focus right now is on the plan we recently rolled-out,” said Stark.

This news should come as a relief to the Rollins community, particularly to graduating students.

“I’m excited that graduation will be in person because we all look forward to that day of celebrating our hard work,” said Konner Ross (‘21), a graduating senior. “I think Rollins has to be serious about taking temperatures when people walk in, doing things safely, and social distancing the seating of families…I’m glad they came to that decision.”

The Class of 2021 had previously been left to wonder whether they would get a proper graduation ceremony or if they would only get a virtual sendoff like last year’s commencement, which was held virtually after the pandemic forced Rollins to shut down the campus. 

Now that plans for an in-person commencement have been announced, it appears that this year’s senior class has avoided the same fate.

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