by Max Waite ’21
On Thursday, May 20, commencement exercises for the class of 2021 will be celebrated with an in-person ceremony at Hendricken Field. As much as this past year has been uncertain, it is remarkable to see how far the Providence College community has come in order to make this event as memorable as it can be.
Despite COVID-19 regulations easing up in the surrounding communities, as well as vaccine availability increasing, parents and guests will not be able to attend the outdoor ceremony. Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., announced, however, that the ceremony will be livestreamed.
In the past several weeks, students have received their caps and gowns and have taken the time to get their senior yearbook photos done. There is a palpable excitement in the air throughout the community. Michael McGreal ’21 stated, “I’m sure our entire class was wondering what commencement would be like this year. I felt that it was on us to do whatever we could to prevent the spread of the virus. I’m ecstatic that we’re able to have an in-person ceremony.”
The ceremonies will start with a commencement mass for the senior class, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Additionally, there will be a separate, in-person ceremony for graduate school and School of Continuing Education graduates on Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. Parents and guests will not be able to attend this ceremony either.
The College also announced Dr. Laurie Santos will be the commencement speaker. A Yale University psychology professor, Dr. Santos is the host of a widely acclaimed podcast called The Happiness Lab, where she dives into the factors that can impact our overall well-being. This will certainly be a memorable part of the ceremony, during which the class of 2021 will be sent off with a positive message that we can carry with us on to the next chapter of our lives.
Students will be notified of graduation honors and class rank before the ceremony as part of their academic transcripts. Students who have been studying remotely for the past year are encouraged to join their class for the ceremonies, and, of course, they must provide a negative COVID-19 test before the ceremony. This past year has not been easy, and it is amazing to be able to celebrate the class of 2021 with an in-person commencement ceremony.