On September 14th, Greensboro College announced via their Instagram their long-awaited plans to give the class of 2020 an in-person graduation, saying “…Greensboro College announces an unprecedented honor for Class of 2020, by including them in the actual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2022.”
Though this sounds like a victory after the cancellations of several Greensboro College alumni Homecoming events, the reactions from the classes of 2020 and 2022 have been largely negative.
Senior Haley Austin writes on their Instagram, “With Graduation, does that mean that the 2022 graduates will have less tickets for family? If it is unsafe for them now, how will there be enough room for the class of 2022, 2020, and both families? Consider the class of 2022 too.” She later elaborated on her stance, saying, “After having [a] majority of our college experience taken away due to COVID, we at least deserve our own graduation. The class of 2020 deserves their own as well.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by Class of 2020 alum Madison Powers. She commented on the school’s Instagram post saying, “Stop trying to give us something that is long overdue. Instead, why don’t you forgive part of our Perkins loan… Especially since we did not get to enjoy the latter end of our senior year.”
Despite the negative reactions, some graduates are excited to reunite with their friends in the Class of 2020. Senior Cynthia Porter says, “I hope this time it sticks! My boyfriend has been waiting [for] his chance to walk since 2020…and with me graduating and walking [in] 2022, it would be amazing if we walked together!”
Powers summed up the feelings of many disgruntled members of the classes of 2020 and 2022, saying, “There are so many of us that are disappointed….. We loved our college experience, but the way it end[ed] was crazy.”
The new graduation ceremony could prove to be a better opportunity for the class of 2020 to reunite, as around 20 alumni RSVP’d to the initial graduation ceremony planned for September.
Regardless of their stances on the joint graduation ceremony, past and current students expressed a similar sentiment about the importance of having a graduation for the class of 2020. “I just know from a personal perspective that it would be absolutely devastating to never get the chance to walk,” says Porter. “I’ve seen my boyfriend be disappointed twice now, and I know I would be just as upset. Walking across that stage is almost like a sense of closure; like it seals that chapter in your life. It’s important for everyone to experience this!”
Though details are yet to be announced, including how the class of 2020 will be incorporated into the ceremony, the date is set for May 7th, and it is expected that the ceremony will be held on front campus in front of the Main building, per tradition. Hopefully, the ceremony will prove to be a satisfying conclusion to years of hard work for members of the class of 2020 and 2022.