Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Marianas College has conferred about 230 college degrees this year and, although NMC already distributed the degrees last week, the actual graduation ceremony will press ahead in December.
“NMC has postponed its in-person graduation ceremony to December because we don’t want to put students at risk by having large gatherings,” said interim president Frankie Eliptico.
NMC will still be recognizing graduates through other means, like activities and a video production. “We are producing a video and other kinds of activities to commemorate their graduation, but the actual in-person ceremony will be in December,” he added.
NMC initially scheduled the graduation for May, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been pushed back.
Eliptico said NMC surveyed its students and majority of them wanted an in-person graduation ceremony. The students also supported the idea of postponing the event. He said that NMC will assess what the graduation will look like in December while making sure that social distancing rules remain in place.
“Nothing can replace the feeling of being surrounded by family members and hundreds of people watching you walk across the stage and earn that degree. We don’t want just to put it online because it is not the same. We want to make sure we honor the occasion,” he said.