Montclair State’s Class of 2021 Prepares for Commencement

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Published May 11, 2021
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The Montclarion
The 2019 Commencement Ceremony. Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Montclair State University’s class of 2021 is only one month away from graduation and many are looking forward to walking across the stage. The commencement ceremonies will take place on Montclair State’s Sprague Field starting Monday, June 7 through Sunday, June 13, 2021.

In order to attend, students are required to register in advance for their assigned date based on their major. This will give the university enough time to safely follow the preparation guidelines for the ceremonies. Registration can be accessed through an email link that closes on Sunday, May 16.

All guests and graduates are suggested to follow safety guidelines during the ceremony. These include wearing face coverings throughout the entire event, staying six feet apart, following arrows and sitting in marked designated areas. Those not feeling well will not be permitted to enter.

On April 26, Gov. Murphy announced the increased gathering limits for both outdoor and indoor events. Each graduate is only allowed two tickets to ensure everyone’s safety but a livestream video of the event will be available for those who cannot attend the outdoor ceremonies. The university’s plan is to keep each ceremony length under one hour.

President Susan Cole Addressing the Class of 2019. Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

President Susan Cole addressing the Class of 2019.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

While last year’s ceremonies also had a guest limit of two, graduates this year are quite disappointed.

Caitlin Stout, a senior justice studies major, is attending the commencement ceremony on June 9 and was hoping to be allowed more tickets.

“I am glad the school is taking safety precautions and everyone has to wear masks, but it is disappointing that we are able to bring two people,” Stout said. “I have a big family so it is difficult to choose between everyone. I am just excited that we are able to have graduation in person though.”

Sara Lefkowitz, a senior family science and human development major, is attending the commencement ceremony on June 8 and believes the graduates should have been allowed three or four tickets.

“I am okay with having this type of commencement [and] I understand the precautions completely but I wish we were able to have more guests,” Lefkowitz said. “I think three or four tickets would have been a little better.”

The university is aware of the students’ disappointment regarding the guest policy but stressed the importance of everyone’s safety in an email.

“We know that some of you are disappointed because you want to have more guests and we are sorry we cannot offer more tickets. However, we are still in the pandemic and your safety remains our priority and we must adhere to state protocols,” the university stated in the email.

Family and friends of the Class of 2019 celebrating in the stands. Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Family and friends of the Class of 2019 celebrating in the stands.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

While the seniors are moving on from their time as undergraduate students, some students like Parker Santos are going the extra mile to achieve their master’s degree at Montclair State.

Santos is a senior family science and human development major and will continue her studies in a five-year program at Montclair State. She’s attending the June 8 ceremony and is looking forward to in-person graduation.

“I’m very excited because I really wanted to have an in-person graduation,” Santos said. “While I wish more people could attend, I understand the circumstances that we are in. I’d much rather have a guest limit and have in-person graduation than completely online graduation.”

With President Cole retiring in a few months, this will be her last time attending commencement ceremonies.

“I always love the graduation and the big commencement,” Cole said. “It’s the highlight of my year to see the students walk across the stage and to see how happy they are with their achievements and how proud their families are of them. Of course I will miss it when I’m gone but I had it for 23 years and now it’s somebody else’s turn to get a chance to do that.”

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