EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University held its first in-person graduation ceremonies since the pandemic began on Friday, and, while they look a little different this year, graduates said they’re just grateful to be able to share this experience with loved ones.
“It feels good, it feels like a big accomplishment and I’m ready to go on to the next chapter,” said Matthew Bradford, who’s graduating with an engineering degree.
Graduates said Friday they were feeling anxious, nervous and most importantly excited about completing their degrees.
“I’m feeling very sentimental,” said Graduate Alyssa Vanooteghem. “I’ve been here for the past four years. It’s getting to me now that these are going to be my final days, but I’m ready for the future.”
Last year, COVID-19 led MSU to cancel spring graduation ceremonies. This year, officials at the university say they wanted to provide students with ceremonies that were safe.
“So, we have carved out a space, which will allow us to hold up to 200 graduates and their 400 family members,” said Cheri Speier- Pero, associate dean of MSU’s Broad College of Business. "We have 600 spots that are all socially distanced.”
“I’m just glad we had the opportunity to have an in-person graduation,” Vanooteghem said. “I feel very fortunate that we were able to meet with family today and be on campus.
And while all the graduates have different plans for the future, they’ll never forget the lessons they learned while being a Spartan.
“I learned if you do something out of your comfort zone, you may find passion in it and fall in love with it. That's how it was for me with engineering.”