Coming home for graduation

By Dominique Jeter (TheLorian)

It’s a memorable homecoming for the class of 2020. The Sun is hot and everyone is six-feet apart. Approximately 250 Duhawks made the journey back to Loras for their graduation ceremony that was originally scheduled for May. The ceremony was pushed back from May to Oct. 9 because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The College made sure to follow CDC guidelines like social distancing and masks. Loras College was one of few colleges in Iowa that gave their graduation class a proper ceremony.

Many soon-to-be graduates were very emotional to see one another after campus shut down in March. In the Spring, all the students on campus were sent home in due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Dubuque county. The College promised to host an in-person graduation ceremony and fulfilled that promise on Homecoming 2020.

“2020 meant letting go of a lot of things, and I fully expected commencement to be one of them. So when graduation finally came, it felt surreal,” said graduate Amber Krieg. “I didn’t realize how much it meant to me to have that in-person experience until it was happening. It might sound silly, but getting to celebrate alongside my classmates made my heart full.”

“Having an in person graduation was so important to my 2020 classmates and I because it gave us closure on what was a very eventful college career,” said graduate Kirk Mommsen. “It meant so much to be able to walk across the stage and have that feeling that all of my hard work had paid off.”

Students were also able to have family and friends in attendance to their ceremony, allowing people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and more to come out and recognize our graduates and their accomplishments. The college’s yearly baccalaureate mass occurred prior to graduation and they received an outside luncheon, which is the usual programming for seniors. For some, this event marked the transition from student life to adult life.

“It’s a scary time to be entering the ‘real world.’ Commencement provided the closure I think we all were missing, but I don’t think I’ll ever be ‘done’ with Loras. I still find myself turning to my former classmates and professors almost every day. Of course I miss being on campus and attending classes with my friends. But I don’t feel isolated from that community either,” said Krieg.

Other graduates were unable to come back to attend graduation because they received job placements in their field. Mommsen was fortunate to be able to participate in commencement, in addition to balancing his continuation of education.

“Being done with my undergraduate degree feels amazing. It’s just another milestone I am able to reach and gives me momentum for graduate school this Fall and Spring,” said Mommsen.

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