GV announces plan for winter class of 2021 commencement


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Haileigh Huber

Grand Valley State University announced that they will be holding an optional virtual commencement ceremony Friday, April 30 at 7 p.m. followed by a Laker Graduation Celebration on Saturday, May 1, in the Fieldhouse on the Allendale Campus.

GVSU has been holding virtual commencement ceremonies the past two semesters and felt it was the best decision to keep everyone safe. LeaAnn Tibbe, Associate Director of the Office of Student Life, has found them to be very successful.

All deans will be filmed and introduce their colleges. The student’s name, the official title of their degree and if they have any high awards will all be shown on the screen.

The graduation celebration on Saturday is something new GVSU is trying.

“It will provide a little more of the graduation feeling,” said Tibbe.

Any student that decides to attend is allowed to bring four guests and will go to the Fieldhouse where they will be assigned a five-minute time slot based on their college and given a card with a QR code.

The graduates will line up and as they get close to the stage their family will separate and go stand in the viewing area.  The graduate will scan their QR code which will project their name onto the screen. There will be three “X’s” marked on the stage, each one representing a different place to stand for a photo opportunity with their diploma and the turning of their tassel.

“Students just want the opportunity to cross the stage and get those photos, and that’s what we’re providing,” said Tibbe.

Following the ceremony, GVSU is offering a celebratory drive for graduates through their new alma mater.

“As graduates leave the fieldhouse, they can get into their vehicles and turn onto West Campus Drive, tune into the radio station that will be playing GVSU programming and take one last drive through campus,” said Tibbe.

Along West Campus Drive there will be fun signs, and students are encouraged to stop at the Laker Store where hopefully President Mantella and Louie the Laker will be for photo opportunities.

“We knew our students needed this,” said Tibbe.

A map will be provided for the graduates and their guests with other places they can go on campus to take photos.

Despite the opportunities to participate, some students are unsure if they will engage in graduation activities after experiencing a tumultuous final year.

Senior Dacey Perez said she has mixed feelings about graduation and is still unsure if she will be attending the virtual commencement or the Laker Graduation Celebration. Over the last year, Perez has felt like she’s been teaching herself and is ready to get her diploma and move onto the next chapter of her life.

“I have worked four years for this, to only get 10 seconds of screen time,” said Perez.

While this is not the outcome Perez had hoped for, she said she will always remember the memories she made while on the Grand Valley volleyball team as well as going to the top floor of the library with her friends to hang out late at night with coffee and snacks.