CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina University has a new crew of alumni, but their graduation was a first of its kind for the school.
The university held a virtual commencement ceremony for the spring graduation class in order to keep students and their families safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were all bummed at first,” said Caitlyn Hinnerschitz, a CCU spring graduate.
“It’s kind of bitter sweet,” said Patrick Reese, another CCU Class of 2020 grad.
For the CCU seniors, graduation day was far from what they had envisioned.
“Every kid dream when they go into an undergraduate school, they just want to get that diploma and walk across the stage in front of their friends and family,” said Reese.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic that wouldn't be happening.
Instead, most spent graduation day in their living room with loved ones by their side for CCU’s virtual commencement ceremony.
“It’s such a memorable experience that I think will last with us for a long time,” said Hinnerschitz.
“You know I’m just fortunate to have something instead of nothing,” said Reese.
Students were able to watch commencement live on CCU’s YouTube Channel with a special message from faculty members and CCU President Dr. David Decenzo.
“To the spring Class of 2020, I am extremely proud of what you’ve accomplished throughout your journey. It has not been easy, but through it all, this class has truly embodied the spirit of the Chanticleer,” said Decenzo.
The graduating class of 2020 was invited back to campus in August or December or once things return to normal for an in-person graduation ceremony.
“I personally want my chance to walk across that stage,” said Hinnerschitz.
“I don’t think I would but if some people would like to do that it’s fine,” said Reese.
Even though they didn’t get to walk across the stage, they still heard their names read.
Making them proud graduates of Coastal Carolina University!
“We made it guys,” said Hinnerschitz.
“Class of 2020! We did it baby,” said Reese.
The virtual commencement ceremony can be re-watched on the university’s YouTube channel.