AUGUSTA, ME – Maine’s community colleges are planning innovative and creative online graduation ceremonies over the next several weeks, in response to limits on large in-person events during the traditional graduation season.
College officials mailed out caps and gowns to graduates, solicited pictures and messages from supporters and found ways to keep the “pomp and circumstance” while incorporating new ways to celebrate the graduates who wrapped up their academic careers in highly unusual circumstances.
“Coronavirus has brought the entire world to its knees, but it did not keep you from this virtual stage,” Maine Community College System President David Daigler told the graduates of the first online ceremony, held by Northern Maine Community College on May 2. “You’ve learned the important power of persistence,” Daigler said.
Several colleges are inviting the graduates to come back for a second, in-person, ceremony when limits on large gatherings are lifted.
Daigler praised the entire Class of 2020 for their accomplishments.
“I offer deep and heartfelt congratulations to each of you for all you’ve done and all you’ve accomplished to reach this momentous occasion,” Daigler said. “Like you, I wish we could gather in person, but I am glad we have found a way to celebrate this occasion.”
Other community college commencement ceremonies will be held on:
- May 8: Eastern Maine Community College will hold a virtual commencement ceremony online via a Zoom webinar at 5pm (register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rhYfHOalT4K75mD7KCBazg)
- May 15: Washington County Community College will hold a virtual commencement ceremony at 11:00 am, streamed on the college’s website (www.wccc.me.edu) and on WCCC’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/discoverwccc/.) The commencement speaker is famed NASCAR driver, former ESPN analyst, and current FOX analyst Ricky Craven. A recording of the event will be posted on the WCCC website and available for download. A digital copy, on an USB drive, will be sent to the home address of each graduate.
- May 15: York County Community College will hold a virtual graduation celebration with a YouTube Premier Video Launch at 6pm. Students were mailed a Class of 2020 bucket hat to take the place of their mortarboard, and the ceremony can be viewed on the YCCC YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/YCCCMaine. The video will also be posted on the college website (www.yccc.edu) and social media channels. A live commencement ceremony is being tentatively planned for the fall with a bonfire event the night before to celebrate graduates and the entire campus.
- May 16: Kennebec Valley Community College will have a recorded commencement ceremony streamed on the college website (www.kvcc.me.edu) at 10 a.m. The commencement speaker is U.S. Rep. Jared Golden. Golden represents the Second District of Maine, and serves on the Small Business Committee and the Armed Services Committee.
- June 14: Southern Maine Community College will hold a virtual commencement ceremony broadcast at 11:00 a.m. on the college website (www.smccme.edu.) The commencement speaker is Chris Newell, member of Maine’s Passamaquoddy Tribe and Executive Director and Senior Partner of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine. Wayne Newell – a Passamaquoddy Elder, noted educator, and author – will be awarded an honorary degree. The 2020 graduates are also invited to participate in the live graduation ceremony in the spring of 2021.
- Fall 2020: Central Maine Community College is planning an in-person commencement ceremony in the fall. If that is not possible, a commencement video is planned.
Additional information about each ceremony, including student speakers, is available from the colleges.