Walking across the stage in a cap and gown is a celebration of years of work for Grand Rapids Community College students. The college this year is preserving that tradition by making changes to keep graduates and their families safe during the pandemic.
GRCC plans indoor, in-person ceremonies to celebrate the Class of 2021, spreading them out over two days and limiting the number of guests at each event to adhere to pandemic safety protocols.
Plans call for hosting four commencements, with students graduating from the School of Arts and Sciences during two ceremonies April 30, and graduates from the School of Workforce Development honored during two ceremonies May 1.
Students also have the option of participating virtually, and all four ceremonies will be live-streamed.
“Every commencement is a celebration, and this one even more so, as students have faced the challenges of a pandemic and emerged stronger,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We want to pay tribute to their determination, rejoice in their success, and recognize the faculty, staff, family and friends who supported our graduates and encouraged them to move forward.”
Spreading commencement out over four ceremonies and two days will allow graduates and a limited number of guests to attend the event in the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse while socially distancing and following additional health and safety protocols. GRCC continues to work with county health authorities and to monitor state and federal recommendations.