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Local universities hold Spring commencements in unique, safe ways

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The pandemic put a halt to college graduations all over, some universities weren’t able to have a ceremony, or some were virtual last year. Spring commencements are back and looking a little more normal this year, local universities were eager to do whatever it takes in order to celebrate graduates.

“The students deserve this, the students did everything that we asked them to do this year to keep this campus safe,” said Andrew Leavitt, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh brought some normalcy to the time-honored traditions of commencement, in an unconditional, yet memorable way. On Saturday, UW- Green Bay held an all-day, drive-by commencement on its campus for the second year in a row. Nearly 700 students and their families participated in the twelve-hour event. All four UWGB campuses participated, totaling 1,617 graduates from Fall and Winter 2020 and Spring and Summer 2021.

“It’s been an incredible year but they’ve remained resilient, passionate, and committed to their education and they should be proud,” said Corey King, Vice Chancellor for University Inclusivity and Student Affairs, UW-Green Bay.

Uw-Oshkosh held an in-person commencement at the Kolf Sports Center in four separate ceremonies, cleaning in between each one to keep students and families safe. 1,500 students walked across the stage, with a mix of Spring 2021 graduates, Winter 2020, and Spring 2020 grads.

“We believe we’ve equipped them with the competencies and the skills and the knowledge they need to be very successful in life; they just need to follow their dreams,” Leavitt explained.

While last year’s graduation was virtual, Oshkosh graduates said they are thankful that their friends and family were able to share this special day with them.

“It flew by, and it was an absolutely amazing experience and I will not forget it here,” said Grace Krug, UW-Oshkosh graduate.

“Enjoy the time that you have right now, cherish it with your friends and family. We really had a rare opportunity to graduate in person today, it’s really special,” said Frank Hessel, UW-Oshkosh graduate.

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