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Alumni, students disappointed in virtual commencement

Viewers were disappointed with the commencement celebration.

TCU alumni were disappointed in the lack of fanfare during the virtual commencement celebration.

TCU held the online celebration Aug. 8 after canceling the in-person commencement ceremony for all Class of 2020 graduates, including those in May and August.

Alumna Marissa Wells, a former marketing and supply chain double major, wrote in an email that she was “devastated” when the rest of her senior year was cut short due to the pandemic, but she had been looking forward to the in-person ceremony that had been scheduled for August. 

When TCU canceled the ceremony, however, she was frustrated by the lack of communication from the administration. 

“I was frustrated, particularly since the university did not announce any plans to celebrate our accomplishment,” she wrote. “From there, I felt like everything the administration did was reactionary to the backlash that they were receiving, particularly since they would provide a new piece of information one bit at a time as August 8th grew closer.” 

During the ceremony, which was broadcast on Facebook Live, graduates’ names and majors were shown on the big screen in the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

“I was disappointed in the virtual celebration. I felt it was the minimum, which is not TCU’s typical style,” Wells wrote. “I would’ve at least liked for music to play in the background with the names as they scrolled and for both majors to be shown for students who were double majors like myself.”     

She thinks the administration “didn’t put more into it because they feel that having a ceremony for all 2020 graduates in the spring would make up for this event, but not everyone will return for that.”

When commenters on the Facebook livestream asked about the lack of sound during the celebration, TCU responded that there was no music and suggested viewers play “Pomp and Circumstance” as they watched. 

Despite her disappointment, Wells wrote she was pleased she received her diploma in the mail ahead of the celebration, as well as her cap, gown and tassel two days before the event.

Sarah Davis, a religion major whose December 2020 commencement was postponed, wrote in a message that she thinks the virtual celebration was a valiant effort, given the circumstances, but that TCU should have opted for a virtual ceremony.

“I think that if the administration had accepted that graduation wasn’t going to happen earlier, instead of foolishly hoping travel and massive gatherings would be safe by August, then we could have had a virtual commencement like every other school,” she wrote. 

Davis doesn’t plan on attending a future graduation ceremony, because “the moment has passed.” 

The commencement celebration is still available to view on TCU’s Facebook page

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