CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M Corpus Christi will hold in-person graduation in May for the class of 2021. However, not only will 2021 graduates be given the opportunity to walk, there will be a specific ceremony for 2020 graduates to walk who weren’t given the opportunity due to the pandemic.
“I was grinning from ear to ear, I got texts from who were also in the same situation. They were like, ‘we get to go back! We get to do it, we get the lei, we get the chords, the whole thing,’” said Sarina Garcia, who graduated from TAMUCC in December 2020.
Garcia said she tried to mentally prepare for having a virtual graduation ceremony when she graduated, but it was still disappointing not being able to walk.
“Walking in a graduation ceremony is just one of those rights of passage, and not being able to have that back in December, when I was graduated on paper, was definitely very disheartening and upsetting. So, getting to have that second chance here in May is going to be very exciting,” she said.
Michael Lopez, a graduate in the class of 2021, said he was thrilled when he found out he was going to be able to walk this year.
“When we found out we were, I was pretty excited, because now my parents can come down, my family can come down, and watch me,” he said.
For many graduates, Lopez and Garcia included, walking at graduation is a culmination of all the hard work they have done to get to this point.
“For me it means absolutely everything, it’s going to be a big final celebration of all my accomplishments here on the island,” Garcia said.
“I’m able to have that one day where I look back and all of 4-5 years I was here, I can see it all. I just feel lucky,” Lopez said.
The TAMUCC 2021 Commencement will be held at the American Bank Center on Saturday, May 15. There will be three ceremonies, two for Spring 2021, and one combined Class of 2020 ceremony.
The university has modified its commencement ceremony to be safer for graduates and attendees. There will be no keynote speaker, no mace carrier, no band, and no faculty is required to attend. Graduates will not be seated, but will still walk across the stage, receive their diploma, and be able to have pictures taken.
The American Bank Center also has safety protocols being enforced for the ceremonies. Seating will be spaced out for guests to socially distance, masks will be required, sanitization stations will be provided, and the facility will be cleaned and sanitized between ceremonies. Also, ABC will utilize the “Concession App” to order concession from your seat and pick them up when they are ready.