Beaver Stadium is known to many students as the home of touchdowns, halftime shows and concession food — but this year’s seniors will remember it as the home of their college graduation.
Penn State President Eric Barron recently announced plans for Penn State to host in-person commencement ceremonies in Beaver Stadium for the class of 2021, eliciting various reactions from seniors.
Some students like Ellie Farber said they were “excited” to be able to have the opportunity to attend the event in person.
“I will be attending it in person with my parents,” Farber (senior-history, economics and French) said. “I feel good because I think they are being safe about it, and I am excited they are doing it in person, even if it looks a little different.”
Alora McGovern said she thinks students were anticipating the plans for commencement. Nonetheless, she said she is excited to celebrate the end of her senior year with an in-person graduation.
“I’m excited about it, especially because we didn't know about it for so long,” McGovern (senior-biobehavioral health) said. “I did a 2+2 program, and I only had one semester here that was normal, so I am definitely going.”
Saarah Sufi said she trusts the university to hold a safe graduation in the outdoor stadium.
“I do plan on going to in-person commencement,” Sufi (senior-finance) said. “I think Beaver Stadium is large enough to accommodate for social distancing, and since ceremonies are broken up by college, I don’t have a problem attending.”
Additionally, Alexis Ciccone said she is excited to graduate in Beaver Stadium alongside her family members.
“I am definitely planning on going and bringing my parents for the two guests option,” Ciccone (senior-communication sciences and disorders) said. “I also think it is cool that we get to be in Beaver Stadium one last time, and I would much rather be in Beaver Stadium than the [Bryce Jordan Center] anyway.”
But, Olivia Singer said the two guest policy limits her to just bringing her parents.
“My sisters are coming, and when they both graduated from [the] University of Delaware, I got to sit in the stands and watch them graduate, so it sucks they will have to watch it virtually while being here,” Singer (senior-marketing) said. “But I am just excited they are doing something for us.”
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Graduates will be allowed two guests to sit in pods of up to three people in Beaver Stadium. The ceremonies will be livestreamed for those not attending in person.
Some students like Lorna Evans said they were happy to have an in-person ceremony but still wish the university will allow them to walk to receive their diplomas. Currently, the university plans to have all seniors remain in one place in the stadium — names will not be called, and students will not walk across the stage.
“I am happy we are able to go in person — it didn’t really change my life too much — but I am still planning on going anyway,” Evans (senior-biomedical sciences) said. “It kinda sucks that we can’t walk still, and we have to sit there and watch it, but I guess it’s nice that we actually get to put our gowns on and feel like we are going somewhere.”
Michael Sundy said he will attend commencement, but mostly to make his parents happy.
“I do plan on going — mostly for my parents — but if it was up to me, I probably wouldn’t go,” Sundy (senior-chemical engineering) said. “But I think [having an in-person graduation] will make them happy.”
In-person commencement weekend will take place May 7-9 — rain or shine — and a virtual commencement option will be held at 6 p.m. May 9 here.