(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Celebrating the academic achievement of graduation is always a special time, Missouri Western State University staff say right now, it’s even more so.
"Having a graduation ceremony today is one of the best things we could do for the university." Elizabeth Kennedy, interim university president said.
The university’s spring commencement was pushed back to September due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Masks were added to the cap and gown dress code, and a student speaker was forced to address the crowd virtually after she tested positive for the virus.
Despite these changes there was still just as much to celebrate if not more.
"We know that it took so much, this has been a crazy time but we’re so grateful and thankful for our university being able to find a way to work it out," Jordan Alford, a MWSU graduate said.
Graduates said this year’s achievement means more than just academic success, they say it also means successfully navigating through all of the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
"It goes to show you how resilient a college student can be," Trasean Stepeny, a MWSU graduate said. "We fought through not being able to finish our classes, not being able to be fully into the work field and find a career for ourselves."
Through it all they’ve been able not just to survive but thrive, all to the amazement of their instructors.
"I have a lot of respect and admiration for them and I wish them all well, Kennedy said. "I can’t wait to see what they do now that they’re out in the world."
Around 450 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees from the university Sunday, the ceremony also included graduates of the summer semester.