Rachael Greene spent her first day as a Temple University student on Geasey Field practicing for the Diamond Marching Band. On May 6, she’ll walk across the field for the last time for commencement.
“I was on that field in band camp and now I’m graduating,” said Greene, a senior public relations major. “It’s all full circle to me.”
Temple University will hold in-person commencement ceremonies for its individual schools and colleges on May 6, 7, 10, 20 and 21 with a single university-wide virtual ceremony held on May 6. Temple is not permitting guests at commencement, so many students plan to attend the ceremony and celebrate with friends and families afterwards.
Based on the current Philadelphia health regulations for in-person events, family and friends will not be allowed to attend commencement, but all ceremonies will be livestreamed and available for family and friends to view, The Temple News reported.
Philadelphia is permitting commencement ceremonies, but everyone must remain at least six feet apart from one another. Indoor ceremonies are limited to 15 percent of the venue’s full capacity and outdoor ceremonies are limited to 20 percent, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
In-person ceremonies will be held at the Temple Sports Complex, Geasey Field, the Liacouras Center and the Temple Performing Arts Center, The Temple News reported.
Greene’s mom plans to watch the commencement livestream from Greene’s apartment on Willington Street near Oxford so she can see her immediately after the ceremony, she said.
”She wants to see me right after, so I’m going to graduate and walk right to my apartment and be excited and be in my cap and gown and probably take pictures,” Greene said. “She really wanted to be in that moment even if she couldn’t watch it in person.”
People who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and stay physically distanced from others in medium and large gatherings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ramy Yammine, a sixth-year mathematics doctoral student, feels comfortable graduating in person because he will be fully vaccinated. Although his parents won’t be able to attend in person, they will watch the ceremony from their home in Ehden, Lebanon.
“I’m an international student, which makes it complicated for my family to be here even in normal circumstances,” Yammine said. “The fact that it’s going to be streamed online could be a good thing.”
There is a seven-hour time difference between Edhen and Philadelphia, so when Yammine graduates at 1 p.m., his family will be watching the ceremony at 8 p.m., he added.
Yammine doesn’t have any plans right now to go home to see his family because he traveled home earlier in the year to defend his thesis, he said.
“That was like a mini celebration,” he said. “After the graduation, I’m going to celebrate with the people in the department who are graduating with me.”
Brittany Burgess, a senior human development and community engagement major, isn’t attending her commencement ceremony on May 6 because her family would not be there to share in the celebration, she said.
When she made her decision, her mom and sister tried to convince her to attend, telling her they’d have a Zoom party afterwards, but Burgess didn’t feel the ceremony would be meaningful without her family there, she said.
“I’ll be supported by my classmates, but it’s different when it comes, when that support comes from your family,” Burgess added. “They’re the people who have watched me struggle through school, they’ve been there every up and down and it’s like, because they’re not allowed, I don’t feel like it would be a real graduation.”
Burgess will watch the ceremony livestreamed online at her mom’s house in Ambler, Pennsylvania, and will “scream when my name comes across the screen,” she said.
Evan Quinn wasn’t expecting to have an in-person ceremony and didn’t care if he went to his commencement ceremony because he would get his diploma “either way.” However, Quinn’s friends convinced him to attend, he said.
Even though Quinn, a senior risk management and insurance major, was hesitant to attend on May 7, he’ll miss having his family at the ceremony in person, he added.
“You kind of get used to it at this point, people not being around,” Quinn said. “I can’t say I’m not upset about it, I wish they could be there but you gotta move on.”
Emma Padner contributed reporting.