MAYS LANDING — Atlantic Cape Community College announced plans Monday to honor its 695 graduates with a virtual ceremony after last month postponing its May 21 in-person commencement.
“By using technology, we can connect with our graduates safely and innovatively,” Atlantic Cape President Barbara Gaba said. “This is an exciting opportunity for graduates to participate and be recognized. Our students have worked so hard to get to graduation day, and we want to honor that dedication in the best way possible, given the current circumstances.”
College graduations around the country have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some schools choosing to postpone ceremonies and others, most recently Stockton and Rowan universities, holding virtual ceremonies with plans for live events at a future date.
Atlantic Cape’s virtual ceremony at 6 p.m. June 11, will be carried on YouTube, Facebook and the college’s website. The virtual ceremony was designed with input from students and staff, and will include remarks from Gaba, Atlantic Cape alumnus and veteran Dennis Kelly, senior vice president and chief enrollment officer at Wilmington College, Student Government Association President Joelle Motley and high honors student Madison Conway.
Motley, of Egg Harbor Township, who will graduate in the spring of 2021, said she appreciates the college listening and responding to the concerns and needs of the students.
“I think that with everything else going on, we just want some sense of normalcy. You work so very, very hard for this type of thing, college graduation, high school graduation, it was very important to myself to the other students in college government that (the graduates) get some sort of acknowledgement in the present,” Motley said.
In addition to speeches, the ceremony will include the reading of all graduates’ names, academic programs, honors and degrees, and a customized slide for each student on which the graduate can share a quote, a photo and a 12-second video. The college is also offering a special photo filter for graduates to add some regalia.
“We’ve been responsive to the students because this is what they said they wanted. And we hope that the students will hold their remote viewing parties to celebrate,” Gaba said.
Graduates are encouraged to share photos and videos on social media by using #AtlanticCape2020 and email pictures of their time at Atlantic Cape to email@example.com.
Class of 2020 Atlantic Cape graduates are also invited to walk during the fall commencement Dec. 5 at Harrah’s Atlantic City. Nursing graduates will be recognized with a formal pinning ceremony in the fall.
For more information, visit atlantic.edu/graduation.