Many Virginia community colleges move their springtime commencement events online due to COVID-19 pandemic

Home|Blog|Many Virginia community colleges move their springtime commencement events online due to COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic robbed our graduates of their traditional springtime commencement ceremonies this year. Some of our colleges said they will honor the class of 2020 later, when it’s safe to return to campus in larger numbers.

About half of our colleges, by our latest estimate, hosted virtual springtime ceremonies online. Here’s a sampling:

At Patrick Henry Community College, about 600 people tuned in as PHCC’s commencement ceremonies were webcast May 16 on Facebook Live. By that evening, the video had racked up nearly 10,000 views.

The livestream kicked off with a montage of pre-recorded greetings and congratulations from PHCC faculty and staff. Then, President Angeline Godwin welcomed viewers and recognized student accomplishments.

“We know that a Patrick Henry degree and credential will serve you very well for a very successful future, but completing this credential during a global pandemic speaks volumes about your character, about your determination, about your resilience, and your pure grit,” said Godwin.

Southwest Virginia Community College hosted a virtual celebration for graduates, providing them with a link to an online experience that included a video of congratulations from college President Tommy Wright and several additional speakers. In addition to the video, there were social filters/lenses with virtual graduation caps, face tattoos, banners, and more. SWCC also offered information about the college’s alumni association.

Tidewater Community College recognized its spring graduates with a first-ever virtual commencement on May 11. The 70th Commencement Exercises were streamed for graduates, family and friends to share together on social media.

The online ceremony was the first commencement under President Marcia Conston, who became the college’s sixth president in January.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many aspects of our lives; however, it is important for us to celebrate your achievement,” President Conston said in her opening remarks. “You have reached a significant milestone, and I am very proud of you and your achievements.”

Thomas Nelson Community College held its 51st Commencement Ceremony through a virtual celebration. In addition to the ceremony Graduates shared personal messages and images through a slide show. TNCC was pleased with participation in the online event.

Within 24 hours of the end of commencement, the ceremony video had been viewed more than 1,000 times. Each of the three videos where student names were read and messages were displayed had been viewed more than 400 times. The 15-minute pre-ceremony video had been viewed nearly 900 times.


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