Fall commencement holds in-person ceremonies with few restrictions

(Photo Illustration by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

After the COVID-19 virus forced many graduation ceremonies online this past year, all summer and fall 2021 graduates will have a chance to walk across the stage this weekend.

“With so many questions in the spring, I think our graduates really enjoyed this semester, just having the confidence that the ceremony was going to be taking place,” Carrie Fink, commencement coordinator, said. “It’s been really exciting to work with our graduates and be a part of this little piece of their time here at K-State.”

Fink said each of the near 1,900 graduates from the summer and fall can bring an unlimited number of guests.

“We do have the mask mandate, so their guests will want to be bringing masks with them,” Fink said. “The guests can sit in Bramlage [Coliseum] where they would like. There’s no tickets. It’s just open seating.”

Fink said the university committed to having as many in-person events as possible, so it’s unsurprising the commencement ceremonies are in person.

“We’ve added in the masks and sanitizing stations all around Bramlage, but with current science, we feel that we can support a healthy and safe experience for our graduates and their families,” Fink said.

Ryan Donnelly, senior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, said he will be attending the ceremony thanks to the vaccine.

“I don’t think there’s going to be too many safety issues if most people are vaccinated,” Donnelly said. “It seems to be better now. If there wasn’t a vaccine, I probably would not be doing the graduation at all.”

Jordan Bailey, senior in animal science and industry, said he is not concerned for his health when attending the ceremony.

“Over time, it seems like the negative things the pandemic brought seemed like smaller and smaller hurdles to jump over as a student at the university,” Bailey said.

Fink said she anticipates a similar ceremony in spring 2022.

“Of course, with the changing COVID scenarios in the world, we’re constantly looking and reevaluating in order to keep our students and our friends and family safe,” Fink said. “As of now, we are planning spring to be in person as well.”

Fall commencement ceremonies are on Dec. 10 and 11.

“We have the graduate ceremony and one in Salina on Friday,” Fink said. “Then we have six undergrad colleges on our Manhattan campus that will have theirs at Bramlage on Saturday.”

The university will live-stream the ceremonies and then archive them for those not in attendance.

The commencement schedule and live stream of the ceremonies will be on K-State’s commencement ceremonies website.