This story was updated on May 18 at 8:55 p.m. to add a quote from Chancellor Joe May’s email to employees.
In-person graduations have been canceled across the Dallas County Community College District and will take place virtually on June 13.
Students have until this Friday to sign up for the online ceremony. Visit here to register.
Cap and gowns will be provided to graduates for free.
The virtual commencement will feature guest speaker Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Chancellor Joe May initially announced the news to employees at a virtual town hall meeting last Wednesday and then in an official email sent on Friday.
“Around this time of year, the buzz and excitement of graduation typically fills the air” May said. “It’s a moment for us to congratulate and honor the commitment and hard work of our students. Although we are unable to gather in-person this year, the celebration goes on.”
The @dcccd has canceled all in-person graduation ceremonies and will have a virtual graduation on June 13 with guest speaker @mcuban, Chancellor Joe May announced at a virtual town hall today. | @TheEtCetera
— Skye Seipp (@seippetc) May 13, 2020
In reaction to the news posted in the Eastfield app by The Et Cetera, sociology major Jasmine Garcia said “it sucks” having graduation online now and that it won’t feel the same as walking across the stage. However, Garcia said she understood it was for safety reasons and that she’ll have another graduation in three years from the University of North Texas.
“I’d rather not have one [graduation ceremony],” she said in a phone interview. “It doesn’t seem as special as actually walking across the stage.”
Another student in the Eastfield app reacted similarly. LaToya Jackson, who couldn’t be reached for further comments, said, “I’m totally disappointed and was really looking forward to this especially going back to school after 15 years.”
Social work major Jessica Ontiberos feels differently about the decision. Ontiberos is a caretaker for her in-laws who are both elderly and have pre-existing conditions. She said DCCCD canceling in-person ceremonies was the right choice.
“I still continue to practice social distancing regardless of everything opening,” she said. “Considering the circumstances with COVID, the virtual [ceremony] is a great thing.”