GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University announced updated graduation plans for the class of 2021 on Tuesday.
The university will host multiple graduation ceremonies on May 7. Undergraduate students will be broken up into two groups. Their ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Graduate students will have a ceremony at 5 p.m.
“It’s not ideal,” said Chris Stansbury, commencement co-chair. “We understand that. But we felt like no matter what we have to do to make this ceremony in-person so people can participate in that, it’s just a big deal.”
ECU will also have nearly 500 students from the class of 2020 join the ceremonies in May.
“We know that they got robbed of their situation because of COVID,” Stansbury said. “We’re not going to be able to have the class of 2020 on the field, but we are inviting them to come back. We’ll have a set section in the stadium for both fall and spring.”
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium won’t look like it has in years past on graduation day.
“The folks on the field will be socially distanced,” said Stansbury. “As hard as that is to believe, graduates and family members are going to have an assigned seat and they’ll be in a set group.”
Everyone will be required to wear a mask. Stansbury said these plans are a year in the making. He’s hopeful graduation day will be special for students.
“I think what people realized when you went a whole year without in-person events, activities and ceremonies, they just realized how important it was,” he said.
Any student who wants to participate in the ceremonies must RSVP by Friday. Stansbury said he expects to announce more details about graduation next week.