Mississippi College leaders will ship gift packages to the Class of 2020 as a way to honor them at a December 12 virtual commencement.
About 1,400 packages will go to MC grads invited to an online commencement without the traditional ceremonial fanfare on the Clinton campus.
“We wanted to give students a tangible way to celebrate their graduation, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said MC admissions director Kyle Brantley.
What’s in each package for the new grads?
A cap and tassel, two commencement programs, a Mississippi College decal, and an alumni pin are all included.
Brantley, who oversees MC commencement, will be joined by volunteers to load each package. MC staff members, including Jared Walters, Amy Rowan, TJ Williams, Angie Hardin, Lori Bobo, Michael Wright, and Mandy Martin, along with students, are part of the team pitching in.
As part of health protocols designed to keep people safe, MC officials booked two virtual commencements. There are separate ceremonies to honor May grads and one program to salute people receiving diplomas in December.
Damon Wright, the MC Student Government Association vice president, says the packages represent a nice gesture for the Class of 2020.
“My heart goes out to those unable to get a traditional in-person graduation,” Wright said. “But it is great to see that our university is doing something extra to provide them with the love and respect that they deserve after years of pursuing their education.”
The Alabama resident hopes the university can do even more to express their gratitude towards the new graduates in the future. “But the virtual (commencement) packages are a great starting point!”
Lori Bobo, the coordinator for campus events for the public relations office, is happy to join the university’s volunteers preparing the gift packages for shipment.
“We are so proud of our 2020 graduates!” says Bobo, a Clinton resident. “It is a shame that COVID has tried to steal the joy of commencement. But we have joined forces to create a very special virtual ceremony with hints of tradition sprinkled in.”
English professor Steve Price will serve as the commencement speaker at both graduation ceremonies (at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that Saturday). MC’s Distinguished Professor of the Year, Dr. Price, is the director of the MC Writing Center at the Leland Speed Library. Departmental award winners will be highlighted on computer screens at the virtual event.
Packages going to the graduates, Bobo said, will enable the Class of 2020 to receive some of the items they normally would get at a traditional program at the A.E. Wood Coliseum. “Most graduates receive gifts at commencement. So what better way to celebrate their special day than with a gift from MC.”
In August, the Christian university returned to traditional classes on the Clinton campus and at MC Law School in Jackson after months of online instruction. MC officials adjusted the fall semester calendar so it would end before the Thanksgiving holidays. Classes begin January 19 for the start of the spring 2021 semester at Mississippi College.