USM prepares for in-person graduation ceremonies

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in Hattiesburg plans to hold an in-person graduation in May 2021.

Dr. Amy Chasteen, executive vice provost at USM, said staff and students showed great resilience throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

“Everyone has pulled together to make sure that students continue learning and faculty continue researching, and we can all maintain that community feel that’s so important here,” she stated.

Last year, Southern Miss held a virtual ceremony for graduates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m definitely thankful for the university by taking the proper measures throughout the rest of the year, so we can be able to do something like this for our graduating seniors,” said Dr. Chasteen.

Chael Williams, a senior at USM said, “It definitely means the world to me that my mom and my sister and my fiancé are going to be able to support me, and it’s not going to be through a computer screen.”

The school’s graduation ceremonies will be spread out across multiple days with different time slots for graduates to walk across the stage. Social distancing and face masks will be required at the events.

“Everyone is thrilled to be able to have graduation in person and this year the ceremonies will be a little bit smaller. We have broken them up for COVID reasons, into eight different ceremonies, and our graduates from 2020 and 2021 are looking forward to being in-person to celebrate with their families and walk across that stage.”

For the people not able to attend in person, the commencement ceremonies will be streamed online.

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