Hundreds of Merced College graduates, both those from the previous school year and those with freshly minted degrees, made their way through Don O’Dishoo Stadium last Thursday and Friday to celebrate the first “in-person” commencement ceremonies since 2019.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 commencement ceremony was held virtually, with the promise that graduates would be able to participate in the next in-person ceremony.
So last Thursday, the Class of 2020 was honored with a single ceremony, and the Class of 2021 was recognized with three ceremonies spread over both Thursday and Friday.
Due to ongoing public health restrictions, each ceremony was limited to 200 graduates, and each graduate was allocated two tickets for guests. Everybody was required to wear masks, and physical distancing measures were in place.
Nearly 2,000 students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 were eligible for the commencement ceremonies, for a total of 3,034 degrees and certificates. More than 200 students graduated with honors, having earned a grade-point average of 3.50 or better with a minimum of 45 units completed. Among those, 34 achieved Superintendent’s Honors by maintaining a GPA of 4.0 with at least 36 units completed.
Merced College President Chris Vitelli and other members of the administration spoke and commended those in attendance for earning their degrees despite the tough times they had faced.
Student Speakers Julia Kellner and Xiaoyan Ruan addressed the Class of 2021 graduates.
For those who were unable to attend the ceremony in person, a live stream of the event was offered through the Merced College website. For residents who would like to watch the ceremony, recordings are available online at: mccd.edu/resources/admissions-records/graduation-ceremony.html.