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Mississippi College to host in-person graduations in May

Mississippi College’s family will gather for a series of in-person spring graduations scheduled for early May — a welcome change after the COVID-19 pandemic caused school officials to pivot to virtual ceremonies over the past year.

The 2021 graduations will be spread over two days — May 7 and 8 — to minimize crowd sizes. Centers for Disease Control health protocols will be followed at the ceremonies. In addition, there will be a new 4 p.m. celebration on the quad on May 6. It will include a graduation procession, music and a guest speaker. The activity is titled “MC Celebrates Its Family.”

Commencements for the university’s Class of 2021 begin at 10 a.m. that Friday for the School of Science and Mathematics in the A.E. Wood Coliseum. The School of Business ceremony starts at 2 p.m., followed by the School of Education at 6 p.m. inside MC’s spacious basketball arena.

On Saturday, graduation at the coliseum begins at 10 a.m. for the School of Nursing. That’s followed by the School of Christian Studies and the Arts commencement at 2 p.m. The final May 8 ceremony is booked for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at 6 p.m.

English professor David Miller, who is overseeing graduation ceremonies on the Clinton campus this year, is excited to welcome back the return to in-person ceremonies. So, too, is his predecessor with that assignment, Mississippi College admissions director Kyle Brantley.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer in-person events this May,” Brantley said. “I think this year’s ceremonies will rank among MC’s most special commencements.”

English professor Steve Price said in-person graduations “will be the perfect conclusion to a most unique academic year.” Graduations, he said, “are such milestones, where we look back and look forward. They’re such a cherished part of academics, too.”

At the same time, May events will showcase celebrations while keeping the campus safe during the pandemic, he noted.

Each school at the Christian university will feature its own individualized ceremony. And a new activity on Thursday afternoon is designed for students to be “a little more casual and celebratory,” added Brantley, an MC alumnus.

The special Thursday event on the quad is designed for the MC family exclusively. The activity will be live-streamed to the family and friends of the new graduates. That will be followed by receptions at 5:30 p.m. for each school at several locations on the Clinton campus.

“That will give students and faculty the opportunity for fellowship,” Miller said.

Miller also announced graduates participating in the university’s virtual ceremonies in 2020 are invited to return for the in-person commencements.