Class of 2020 disappointed after traditional graduation cancelled

By Megan Fee
July 2, 2020

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The class of 2020 on their move-in day at Cabrini. Photo by Cabrini Flickr page.

Many recent graduates and families of Cabrini University have been left upset, frustrated and resentful after hearing that the traditional in-person graduation scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, had been cancelled, especially with classes resuming for undergraduates just 23 days later.   

The graduation, which had already been delayed due to safety concerns over the spread of Covid-19, was officially cancelled after Cabrini University sent out an email announcement explaining new plans for the ceremony.

The email read: “In light of ongoing requirements for social distancing and state limitations on crowd size, the University will be unable to offer our traditional graduation program on August 8 as originally envisioned.”

Selena Scialfa, a recent early childhood and special education grad, was sad to hear that Cabrini would not be able to have its traditional graduation ceremony for her class.

Cabrini sent an email announcement that graduation had been cancelled. Screenshot by Megan Fee.

“I was upset and disappointed that they cancelled the graduation ceremony,” she said. “Walking in a graduation ceremony is something that everyone wants to do after four years.”

In place of a ceremony, the university will be holding a limited and more intimate celebration as Cabrini gave graduates the option to sign up for time slots and come in small groups of four guests to be congratulated by President Donald Taylor, receive their diploma cover and have their photo taken in their caps and gowns. A survey was sent out to the graduate students last week to get a head count for those choosing to attend the “modified campus graduation.” 

Scialfa explained that while there will be no graduation, there will be a drive through with pictures for those that sign up to take part in the event. 

“Cabrini wants to celebrate in some way and are doing the best they can to come up with ideas,” Scialfa said.

While Scialfa believes that this is better than nothing, it is still upsetting and something that the “class of 2020 will never forget.”

While many understand that this pandemic was an unprecedented event, many feel that more planning and effort could have gone into making the graduation for the class of 2020 special. It was a major let down and blow to the class of 2020 as many felt their years of hard work is going unnoticed and had been forgotten.

Emma Tribbett, a recent early childhood and special education grad, believes that Cabrini could have made the digital graduation more “sentimental” and “thoughtful” if there was going to be uncertainty for an in-person graduation.

“I was expecting a montage of pictures from our move-in day as freshman, to our lacrosse team’s and other sports teams wins, photos from visits to D.C. to stand in front of Congress and demand change and even snippets from Cabrini Theatre, as we performed our show, Little Women, in its entirety more than a month out from our opening night completely off book in front of an Instagram live audience,” Tribbett said.

Many graduates and their families also took to Facebook and flooded Cabrini’s page to express their frustration, writing comments revolving around not getting a proper ceremony and how they wished students had been surveyed or asked for their feedback and ideas regarding graduation.

While there are many mixed feelings and emotions, many people are upset that they will not have the experience at all and that the fall semester is starting just 23 days later. Many feel cheated on having missed out on memories and experiences for the last half of their senior year with their graduation now being included in this loss. 

“It’s disappointing that the place I and so many others called home for four years had to leave on such a sad note in the first place but for Cabrini to not put the thought into relatively anything is devastating,” Tribbett said.

“I pray that Cabrini listens to the class of 2020 and gives us the graduation that we have worked so hard to earn,” Tribbett added. “I could list what seems like hundreds of suggestions flooding in from Cabrini alum, families and students but I think those in power at my now Alma Mater need to take the necessary time to listen, be empathetic and make a plan that does not dishonor the class of 2020.”

Megan Fee

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