2022 Commencement in Person, Protocols Uncertain

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Mercy College’s 2022 commencement will be held in person for the first time after a two year absence courtesy of the pandemic. 

The commencement will be held over the course of three days from May 17 to May 19. While the decision on commencement has been answered, there are still many more questions about the details of the event. 

“We will require that all students and guests who plan to attend the ceremonies be fully vaccinated and boosted. Beyond that we are still working out the details,” says Lisa Mills- Campbell, Director of Community Programs and Events and the head of the committee planning the rest of the semester.

Two days after Valentine’s Day, President Tim Hall was clearly feeling the love in his energetic minute long video where he announced the news seniors across the Mercy campuses have been waiting for. However, it comes with changes.  

Instead of commencement being held at the Westchester County Center, which has been the scene of previous graduation ceremonies for the past few decades, 2022 commencement will be held on the Mercy College campus on the athletic field. While it breaks the tradition that had been held for recent graduations, it will be in-person and outdoors.

However, though Hall provided the exciting news, it still left many questions including the students that will be walking on which of the three days, what will be the safety protocols and if masks will be required. 

“It is a little early to have all these protocols in place,” says Colleen Powers, the director of Health and Wellness of Student Affairs. “There is a committee who will be planning for the rest of the semester.” 

Given that the news was announced only a couple of days ago, it is understandable that the specifics of the event(s) are still up in the air. However, after holding the 2020 and 2021 commencements virtually, it left some seniors upset and grieving about the walk they never received. 

During the start of the pandemic back in 2020, students across the campus regardless of grade level, felt shocked and sadness over the loss of their in-person graduation that they had worked hard for. Though their graduation happened, it did not happen the way that they initially planned to come into their senior year. In 2021, feelings were shifted but were left angrier than sad. Happy days were there again coming into the spring semester, however, Mercy College decided to once again hold commencement virtually, still wanting to take the utmost safety precaution given the recent times.  

However, even though the plan for an in person commencement has been announced to students and faculty, the option for a virtual ceremony is still available for those who choose not to show up in person. Providing a form of balance for those who feel safe with attending in person and also for people who either do not meet the safety requirements imposed by the college or don’t feel comfortable attending for other reasons.

“Whether you are a graduate who cannot make it to the ceremony, or a family/friend who would like to partake but cannot make it in-person, we will live stream the events for all to join/share this important moment.” says Campbell.

Given the events of the past two years, and the most recent mandates that have become at the center of everyone’s minds the past few months, seniors should “remain flexible should safety guidelines and restrictions require us to move to a virtual event,” as said by Hall.  

All information will also be posted to Mercy’s Commencement website.

Mercy College