Kelly Ledsworth / Design Director

By: Haley Hersey, News Editor

The University of Southern Maine (USM) has decided on a plan for Commencement 2022.

Dean of Students, Rodney Mondor, said in an email the current plan is “To hold an in-person Commencement Ceremony at the Cross Insurance Arena on Saturday, May 7. We will also be offering a Stage crossing/name reading ceremony for the Class of 2020/2021 on Friday, May 6.”

“All of this is pending that large group activities will have no restrictions by the City of Portland, State of Maine and/or Federal Guidelines between now and May,” said Mondor.

According to Mondor the plan is to have a full Commencement Ceremony like pre-COVID, pending any restrictions. However, because it is a university event, masking is expected to be required for attendance.

The face covering requirement for the University of Maine System (UMS) was extended on October 26 to last through December 17, which is the remainder of the fall semester. According to the policy, when indoors and not alone with a closed door or eating, face coverings are required to be worn on university property. The policy will be reassessed on December 17 on whether it should be further extended. 

As of November 5, no faculty or professional staff speakers had been decided on. Applications to be the student speaker are usually posted at the end of January or early February.

At this time, Mondor said there is no backup plan in place for the ceremony. 

“In the Spring Semester, if there is a hint of potential restrictions, then we will address them and adjust accordingly,” said Mondor.

Various USM seniors were asked their thoughts on the university’s current plans for commencement. Social behavioral sciences major and tourism and hospitality and academic honors minor, Hannah Hart said, “I believe this plan is fantastic and I am looking forward to an in person ceremony! I believe that it would work out well and make people feel included and wanted.”

Hart also said she thought a livestream option would be a good option for those who do not feel comfortable attending the ceremony in person.

Media studies major with a Spanish minor, Abigail Nelson said “I think it’s great that past classes are going to be able to walk and that the school is doing something to honor them.” 

Nelson also wondered how many people will take advantage of the opportunity to march “now that they have started their lives and are all over the place.”

In regards to her thoughts on graduating and having more traditional experiences, she said “I’m excited to have a graduation and I hope that I will be able to have my family there to support me as they have supported me for the past four years.”

Occupational therapy major, Emily Colby said, “I think that it is great that they are including an opportunity for the 2020 and 2021 folks to have a graduation, however I think there should be a good amount of surveying done beforehand to see how many people are going.” 

The lack of restrictions is a little concerning, I think that there should be some research done on the number of people that are planning to attend beforehand,” said Colby.


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