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A College Graduation!

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 27, 2022 22:01

1 user

My older daughter graduated from college, and I was so glad to attend her in-person graduation ceremony.

When my younger daughter graduated from high school in June 2020, her ceremony was online. She dressed up in her green gown and mortarboard cap, and we took some photographs in our backyard. But it wasn't the same.

There was no pomp and circumstance, no tradition and drama, no presence at the beloved Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Although my daughter remarked that she was glad not to have to dress up and sit in a crowded auditorium, it was a letdown.

That was the situation in 2020, due to the Covid pandemic. And in 2021, graduation ceremonies were still modified in certain ways. I know of colleges that had graduations in which only the students were present and their families watched on their phones and computers.

Thus it was so nice to have a more or less traditional college graduation ceremony last weekend for my older daughter. Jess graduated with honors from SUNY (State University of New York) at New Paltz, a four-year public college that also has graduate programs. The school is about two and a half hours north of our home.

The school held three graduation ceremonies, so as to make each less crowded. Friday was for graduate students; Saturday was for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Sunday was for the Schools of Fine and Performing Arts, Business, Education, and Science and Engineering. Jess was in the Music Program, so we attended Sunday's festivities. 

My husband, younger daughter and I attended. It was held outdoors on the lovely Main Campus lawn, and about 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, there was very light rain and a few rumbles of thunder. But that cleared out and we had good weather for the ceremony, which lasted just under two hours.

There were speeches, live music provided by a local brass ensemble, and the typical filing in and out of students. We were able to snap photos of Jess when she walked onto the stage and had her name announced. She received a diploma case and returned to her seat.

In many ways, this was an unremarkable commencement exercise, but everyone was aware that after two years of upheaval, we were witnessing a throwback that was ever so welcome. I know I was very grateful for the status quo.

One of the perks of modern graduation, is that most grads and guests have their cellphones with them. It makes meeting up after the ceremony much easier. We told Jess where to meet us, she did, and we took photos of her with a few of her friends.

Afterward, we went out to eat lunch. We also stopped by the Chabad of New Paltz.  a Jewish student center. Jess was active in the group all four years of college, and it was a very important part of her school experience. 

I'm so glad that Jess and her peers at New Paltz and the other SUNY schools had good old graduation ceremonies! 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 27, 2022 22:01

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Source: NBC New York

In this file photo, a graduation mortar board cap is on one hundred dollar bills for a visual concept of the cost of a college...

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