LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - When universities across the state had to move to online classes because of COVID-19, McNeese State University was figuring out how to honor their graduates who have worked so hard to earn a college degree.
“In the middle of March, we realize that we were going to have to start transitioning to complete remote,” Director of Public Relations and University Events Candace Townsend said. “When it came time to think about spring commencement, we realized that we needed to make a decision.”
To double the recognition of the 2020 graduates, Townsend said there will be a virtual commencement ceremony on May 16 at 10 a.m. on McNeese’s Facebook page.
“The Deans of each college will be giving words of encouragement,” Townsend said. "They will actually confirm their degrees. Then diplomas will actually be mailed to them.”
McNeese President Dr. Daryl V. Burckel said many of the graduates are the first generation in their family to earn a college degree.
“Our mission is to change lives and we wish the newest members of the McNeese alumni family great success as they go forward and make a life, make a living and make a difference in their communities and our world," Burckel said.
The Class of 2020 will be official McNeese graduates on May 16.
The virtual program will include welcome and congratulatory messages from university administrators and college deans and the conferring of degrees. A congratulatory message from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will also be included, McNeese said.
Candidates’ names will not be individually announced during the virtual ceremony but the prospective candidates list will appear in the May 16 edition of the American Press and be posted online.
Graduates will receive diplomas and honor cords in the mail following the virtual ceremony.
McNeese is planning a traditional commencement ceremony for both Spring and Summer semester graduates, currently scheduled for August 1.
“At this point, it’s scheduled for August 1,” Townsend said. “Because we know that our seniors and our graduate students have worked very very hard and they deserve to be honored and recognized in the traditional way that they were hoping for, and their families were expecting.”