Merced College will hold its first in-person commencement ceremonies since 2019 this week, celebrating both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.
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. As such, the Class of 2020 will be honored in a single ceremony on Thursday, May 20, after which the Class of 2021 will have three ceremonies spread over two days, Thursday and Friday, May 20-21.
The college — and its graduates — are excited to be able to gather in person this year, and to recognize both classes.
“Graduation is one of the most meaningful experiences many of us have in our lives, a unique opportunity to celebrate our own accomplishments alongside the many people who helped us along the way,” Merced College President Chris Vitelli said. “Everyone who graduates from Merced College deserves a chance to walk across the stage and enjoy that special moment, and we’re so pleased to be able to offer the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 that opportunity this year.”
Nearly 2,000 total students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 are eligible for the commencement ceremonies, for a total of 3,034 degrees and certificates. More than 200 students will graduate 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.
The schedule of ceremonies, which will all be held on Don Odishoo Field at Stadium ’76, is as follows:
Thursday, May 20
- Class of 2020 – 5-6 p.m.
- Class of 2021 – 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Friday, May 21
- Class of 2021 – 4:30-5:30 p.m.
- Class of 2021 – 7-8 p.m.
If anything can be considered “normal” in times like these, it is the constant need to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Due to ongoing public health restrictions, each ceremony will be limited to 200 graduates, and each graduate was allocated two tickets for guests. All participants, employees and guests are required to wear masks, and physical distancing measures will be in place.
For the first time, Merced College will be providing a live video stream for each of the graduation ceremonies. Links to those videos, as well as an FAQ and other information about the ceremonies, can be found on the college’s website<https://www.mccd.edu/resources/admissions-records/graduation-ceremony.html>.
Commencement 2021 will be like no other, but Merced College is ready to shine a spotlight on its newest graduates.
“I just can’t say enough about the diligence, flexibility and enthusiasm our Merced College family has shown as we prepare to host these ceremonies,” said Mike McCandless, vice president of Student Services. “This year has presented us with some unique challenges to work with, but our focus has always been on creating the best possible experience for our students, and we can’t wait to see them back on campus to mark this great achievement in their lives.”