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University of Alaska Anchorage to hold ‘reunion commencement’ for pandemic graduates

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:19 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 prepared to graduate, they faced the reality of their ceremonies being virtual. However, students now have the opportunity to graduate in person the way they originally anticipated.

Throughout the pandemic, many college students never got to walk during graduation ceremonies, so the University of Alaska Anchorage is going to give students a chance to re-capture that missed experience. The college announced in late March that it will hold a “reunion commencement” for the nearly 2,600 students that celebrated their graduation virtually in 2020 and 2021.

Clare Baldwin is just one out of those many UAA alumni that had to give up their traditional graduation ceremony for a virtual one during the pandemic.

“It was really disappointing,” Baldwin said. “You graduate from college, and for us, pretty much we just closed our laptops after submitting the last assignment. There was no big celebration.”

As a first-generation college student, for Jessica Reisinger, the celebration goes beyond herself. The word she used to describe her virtual graduation was “anticlimactic.”

“It was a really big deal for myself and for my family, and to not have that kind of culmination of the big commencement and the ceremony and just doing the online program was almost kind of a let down,” she said. “And so I’m really grateful for the university for giving us this second chance opportunity.”

This year marks the ability to finally have a graduation ceremony again. Representatives with the university are encouraging students who may be on the fence about attending the event ceremony to come. The ceremony will be held on April 30 at the Alaska Airlines Center. Students who wish to attend must RSVP by April 22.

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