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OCU plans in-person graduation ceremonies

Oklahoma City University has announced plans to host graduation ceremonies to honor the classes of 2020 and 2021. The in-person events, set for May 7 and 8 at the Freede Wellness Center, will follow established health protocols and include modifications to ensure the safety of students, organizers, and attendees.

To celebrate the class of 2020, whose degrees were conferred in a virtual ceremony last May, the university will invite graduates to reunite with their classmates, professors, and other alumni on campus May 7. In addition to the graduation celebration, 2020 graduates will be the first class to initiate the tradition of signing their names inside OCU’s historic Gold Star building.

“We are thrilled to welcome the class of 2020 back to OCU to solidify their mark on our campus,” said Megan Hornbeek Allen, director of alumni engagement.

In the absence of a traditional graduation commencement last year, class of 2020 members received a gift box earlier this year to welcome them as alumni. The box included a print of “Abeka Apesychi,” a piece by artist D.G. Smalling dedicated to the class of 2020, and several pieces of OCU memorabilia.

The class of 2021 will also have an in-person celebration, spread out over the course of the day and grouped by school to allow for social distancing. The May 8 graduation commencement will also feature an opportunity for the new alumni to sign the Gold Star building.

The events’ planning committee, comprised of current and graduating students, staff, and class of 2020 members, received input from recent graduates and current OCU seniors to guide their efforts. In keeping with their feedback, the committee has planned both celebrations to include a virtual baccalaureate, an opportunity for graduates to walk across a stage in traditional cap and gown, and iconic OCU backdrops for photos with friends and family as well as university leaders.

Graduates are invited to bring up to four guests each to help celebrate the occasion while maintaining health and safety protocols. Live streams will also be provided on the university’s website.

“Our remarkable students have put immeasurable time and effort into their degrees, and we are committed to celebrating their achievements,” OCU President Martha Burger said. “We look forward to recognizing these determined individuals in a unique format while welcoming them into our alumni family.”

For full details on the graduation schedule for the classes of 2020 and 2021, go to www.okcu.edu/commencement.