March 18, 2021
SVSU set to host in-person, outdoor commencement ceremonies for May 2021 graduates
Saginaw Valley State University will provide an opportunity for its May 2021 graduates to participate in commencement exercises and celebrate their achievements in three outdoor ceremonies planned for Friday, May 7, in the university’s Wickes Memorial Stadium.
Emily Siemens is among those pleased to enjoy the moment of crossing the graduation stage. She will finally get her outdoors graduation ceremony, and her parents will be there to celebrate the accomplishment.
“I was hoping for an in-person graduation, but I really didn’t want to get my hopes up because I know what happened last year,” said Siemens, who expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing. “I was so happy to hear I would be able to celebrate with my family.”
The 21-year-old Gibraltar, Michigan native will be among just over 1,000 total graduates expected to complete degrees this May. Siemens and each graduate will be able to invite up to two guests each. With the students’ celebration spread across three ceremonies, the university will host ceremonies that follow the campus health and safety guidelines relating to social distancing.
In 2020, SVSU was among the nation’s many universities to host virtual celebrations for graduates online.
SVSU traditionally hosts its ceremonies indoors at its Ryder Center facilities. Relocating the event to the stadium will provide a safer venue and allow more people to participate.
The in-person commencement plans were announced by SVSU President Donald Bachand during his annual State of the University address Tuesday, March 16.
“This is very important to our graduates,” Bachand said. “I am pleased we will be able to celebrate in-person with them, with safety in mind.”
The relocation works in Siemens’ favor in a unique way. The first-generation college student and 2017 Carlson High School graduate was looking forward to earning her diploma in the high school’s football stadium four years ago, but a rain delay forced the event indoors.
“I was disappointed,” she said. “I had been looking forward to being outside for that occasion. Now, it turns out, I will get that outdoor setting to celebrate with my friends; I just had to wait to do that with my college classmates.”
If inclement weather prevents a safe gathering on Friday, May 7, SVSU plans to host the ceremonies outdoors in the stadium the following day instead.