“Celebration of the Graduates” week to kickstart next week

By: Grace Coughlan, Associate Editor and Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief
Photo Courtesy of TU

On Monday, Towson University sent an email out to seniors, announcing the week of May 18th to be “Celebration of Graduates Week.”

“The Commencement Committee has been working on a virtual celebration of the students that would be graduating,” said TU President, Kim Schatzel.

The email, which was sent by the Commencement Team, the Office of the Provost and Towson University, announces an opportunity for students to unite as a TU community, even though it can’t be done physically.

“So we’ve re-dedicated May 18-22 as Celebration of Graduates Week — an opportunity for you to reminisce with friends, thank professors who’ve inspired you to think differently, and let your families know how much their support is appreciated,” the email read.

Previously, Towson University launched a #TUtogether campaign across social media platforms.

“Tigers are fiercely supporting one another, now more than ever,” tweeted Towson University. “Use #TUtogether to share the impact, and the good, TU is inspiring.”

The University encourages students to use this hashtag on social media to share photos and inspire one another as graduating seniors wrap up their final week of college.

“[On] the days of Wednesday and Thursday, which would have been the actual in person commencements, each of the colleges will be encouraging their graduates to share some photos, videos, so on and so forth, on their completion of the spring term and their time as undergrads or graduate students at TU, by using the hashtag.” said Sean Welsh, Associate Vice President of Communications and Media. 

The Commencement Team invites graduates to check their mailboxes and their inboxes for commencement surprises that may be coming throughout the week. 

“We’re trying to engage some folks who might be seen kind of like “fill in” commencement speakers to some degree, so we might have some people you might not normally see on stage at SECU speaking, delivering an address to the graduates,” said Welsh. “Then there will be some giveaways that all the graduates will receive both from the University and from the Alumni Association.”

According to Welsh, each day of the week of May 18th will have a theme to it, something seniors can look out for heading into next week.

“I appreciate their efforts to still give us a fulfilling experience and celebration,” said Brenna Ebner, a graduating senior. “My silver lining for this not-so-ideal situation is that this will be a really cool story to tell later and explain that we had to graduate online because of a pandemic!” 

The University also made it clear that the Celebration of Graduates week will not serve as a replacement for an actual commencement ceremony, or its speakers.

“There won’t be a virtual commencement, so to speak,” said Welsh. “There won’t be everybody crossing a stage in some virtual environment. We are working as an institution toward having an in-person commencement at some point when it is safe to do so.

According to Ebner, there is still positivity in this semester’s outcome, despite postponed celebrations being a tough pill to swallow.

“I most just wish my family and friends could all be together to celebrate with me, and I could be there to celebrate my friends who are also graduating,” said Ebner. “I’m glad I still get to graduate at all, and that celebration can always be had later and at a safer time.” 

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