TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – The University of South Florida will hold in-person graduation ceremonies this weekend for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The Spring 2021 commencement ceremonies will be held at Tropicana Field on Saturday, May 8. One ceremony will be in the morning and a separate one will be in the evening.
This is a time for students to celebrate, especially the first graduating class from USF’s accelerated nursing program. The intense 16-month program launched in January 2020, but was quickly moved to online learning once the pandemic hit.
“I would say it was very difficult at first, because no one really knew what was going on,” said Teren Culver, one of the accelerated nursing students.
All 30 students in the first cohort of the program persevered during the challenges brought on by COVID-19, and all of them will be graduating this Saturday, earning their degree in nursing.
“You don’t know what is going to come, you just have to be flexible at any given moment so you can adjust what is being presented to you and that is exactly what we had to do,” added Culver.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for graduation at Tropicana Field. All graduates and attendees are required to wear face coverings and graduates will be seated six feet apart to accommodate for physical distancing.
Each graduate will be honored individually during the ceremony by having their name called and briefly standing to be recognized.