WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Pitt Community College will hold a graduation ceremony this spring to celebrate the Class of 2020.
Due to the need for social distancing to combat the coronavirus, PCC administrators canceled plans for a traditional commencement ceremony this month at East Carolina University’s Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Instead, the college is organizing virtual graduation that will go live on June 1.
“Graduation is a time-honored tradition, and the PCC Class of 2020 deserves a ceremony in which they are celebrated and recognized for their accomplishments,” said PCC President Lawrence L. Rouse. “While a virtual ceremony won’t quite be the same as watching nearly 1,000 happy graduates filing into Williams Arena to the cheers of several thousand family and friends, it’s the best we can do under the circumstances—and it comes from the heart.”
According to PCC Graduation Specialist Emily Davis, Pitt’s Class of 2020 is comprised of 1,196 graduates who earned a combined 1,847 degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
In addition to Rouse, who will deliver a recorded commencement address to graduates, the virtual ceremony will feature remarks from PCC Student Government Association President Curtisia Canady.
It will also include PCC Trustees Chairman Gary Evans presenting the board’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award to retiring board member Charles Long.
Marching Order, a California-based company specializing in graduation planning, is establishing the framework for PCC’s online ceremony.
Students have been invited to upload photos and special messages to be displayed during the program along with their academic achievements, which include special awards and participation in student clubs and organizations.
“Our goal is to make the virtual graduation as similar to previous PCC commencement ceremonies as possible,” Davis said. “A professional announcer will call each graduate’s name, and each member of the graduating class has been given the option of ordering a cap and gown, diploma cover and honor cords as keepsakes or to use in their photo for the ceremony.”
The college has canceled a number of events honoring students, including several award presentations and pinning ceremonies.
“I must admit, in the many years that I have served in higher education, never have I experienced a spring semester quite like this one, where there were no students or faculty members on campus,” Rouse said. “I want to thank our students for working hard to finish out the semester, and I’d like to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who missed out on academic and recognition activities and other celebrations marking their unique milestones.”
Once the link to PCC’s virtual graduation has gone live, Davis says the ceremony will be available for viewing for one year. She added that graduates will be able to download their individual slides from the presentation to share on social media.
Online ‘Open House’ Presentation to Go Live this Month
The PCC Office of Recruitment is creating a multimedia presentation to give high school seniors and their parents details on programs Pitt offers and the kinds of jobs individuals who complete them can expect to find.
The information, according to PCC Director of Recruitment John Carrere, was going to be shared during NextFest in April, but the college had to cancel the on-campus event due to COVID-19.
“NextFest is an annual open house-style presentation, bringing PCC academic departments and local businesses together to share pathways to education and employment,” Carrere says. “PCC partners with the Rivers East Workforce Development Board on the program to give potential students an idea of how to identify their career interests and hear about opportunities to become professionals in those fields.”
Carrere says the presentation his office is creating will include the PCC admission process and messages from local business and industry partners that regularly employ Pitt graduates.
There will also be academic sessions covering curricula options and opportunities for students to transfer to four-year institutions.
“So much has changed in the world in such a short period of time that it’s not surprising to see many prospective learners seeking avenues for employment and college credit closer to home,” Carrere said. “NextFest will offer valuable insight into why PCC is the best choice for high school seniors once they’ve received their diplomas.”
Carrere says the NextFest presentation will premiere on PCC’s Facebook Live channel on May 20 at 7 p.m. and remain on social media platforms for viewing.
Summer Semester Payment Deadline Nearing
PCC Registrar’s Office is reminding students that the 2020 Summer Semester payment deadline is fast approaching.
According to PCC Registrar Angela Cline, students who signed up for summer classes beginning April 20 have until May 15 at 1 p.m. to pay for tuition and fees. Schedules will be deleted for those who miss the deadline.
Cline says students can pay online through their myPittCC accounts. An installment plan through Nelnet Business Solutions is also an option, she said, adding that students can sign up for one by logging into their myPittCC accounts and searching for “Payment Plans” on their financial information page.
Students who have applied for financial aid must have a finalized award for the 2020 Summer Semester in place by the payment deadline in order to secure their schedules.
Those who do not, Cline said, must pay out-of-pocket and wait for reimbursement through financial aid, if it is approved.
Cline noted that students can access financial aid records through myPittCC. By clicking on “Financial Aid Status” under “WebAdvisor for Students” after logging in, they can view their financial aid information in real-time.
Summer classes at PCC begin May 19 and will be offered online only due to the coronavirus pandemic.