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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M to present 5,504 degrees in fall graduations

Graduation+Story
Graduation Story

Texas A&M graduates will once again walk the stage in Reed Arena with no COVID-19 guest restrictions.
After two years of postponed or limited graduations, mask and social distancing requirements and a location change to Kyle Field, 5,504 Texas A&M graduates will gather with family and friends at seven larger, combined fall graduation ceremonies in the traditional Reed Arena venue between Dec. 17-18.
In a note to The Battalion, A&M officials said graduates and their guests will be asked to exit the ceremony after walking the stage. Graduates will cross the stage and receive a diploma tube, though their diploma will be mailed to students at their designated address.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Timothy P. Scott, Class of 1989, said in a note to The Battalion the university is proud to award so many degrees despite the setbacks of a pandemic.
“The upcoming holiday season will be especially meaningful as we congratulate thousands of new Aggie graduates on their well-earned degrees,” Scott said. “We celebrate their achievements, even more so in light of the global pandemic. Congratulations to each graduate and their friends and family.”
Although it is not required, A&M officials said in the note they advise the use of face coverings for all attendees of the ceremonies and encourage COVID-19 testing prior to the attendance of an in-person ceremony. For those who are unable to attend, the ceremony will be broadcasted by KAMU-TV.
Recreation, parks and tourism sciences senior Peyton Liebler said he is looking forward to celebrating with his friends, family and classmates in Reed Arena without having to pick and choose who would get to attend the ceremony in person.
“After seeing how graduations have happened over the past few semesters and talking to a lot of friends [who] were graduating during the semesters, it was kind of tough seeing how everything was proceeding where they were trying to make amends [to] adhere to those guidelines,” Liebler said. “I’m very grateful that things are on a good upward slope, where I’ll be able to invite my family members, and any of those that don’t feel safe at that time would be able to mask up or at the same time stream it through … [KAMU-TV]. So I’m very grateful that there’s going to be options available.”
With the return to in-person classes, psychology senior Emilee Allis said she was grateful to return to campus for her final semester after only one normal semester before going virtual when coming to A&M as a transfer student from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“[My favorite part of coming back to campus was] being able to interact with everybody again. Everybody here is so nice,” Allis said. “That was one of the reasons why I actually wanted to come to A&M, being able to experience all the traditions again, getting to go to football games and just doing everything that A&M really stands for.”
Being an out-of-state student, Allis said her family is going to virtually celebrate with members who cannot make the journey to College Station.
“After graduation, I’m gonna meet up with people who come in [and] friends, too. We’re going to take pictures and go to lunch, and my family planned to set up a little FaceTime thing so I can talk to everybody after graduation,” Allis said.
Graduating with her undergraduate degree in spring of 2020, human resources management master’s student Emilee Hatfield said she is excited to get to walk the stage for her master’s with her graduating class.
“It’s really nice that all the families will be able to gather and I’ll be able to graduate with all my classmates,” Hatfield said. “It’ll be a really … special day for all the graduates and their families.”
Although she attended the make-up graduation for her bachelor’s degree, Hatfield said she is looking forward to having a more traditional ceremony.
“It was nice [of] A&M to make that effort to make up for the graduation that everyone [had] to miss in 2020. I feel like it just wasn’t the same, especially because not everyone was able to come back,” Hatfield said. “I’m excited that everyone will be there for the December graduation, and I’ll be able to walk next to my best friends and all my close classmates.”
Experiencing a majority of her college career on campus, Hatfield said she was excited to connect more with classmates during her last semester.
“One of the biggest challenges with the pandemic was returning back to the in-person [classes] and navigating the Zoom environment,” Hatfield said. “This semester, and even last semester, returning to that normalcy made a big difference and made it easier to close this chapter on a good note.”
Experiencing his last semester in person, Liebler said he enjoyed getting to spend time with his fellow students on campus since he spent a majority of his college years online due to the pandemic.
“I’m really looking forward to the idea that I’m going to have the opportunity to celebrate not only what my degree has offered, and the classes and the effort that I put into that, but [also] the immense historical significance that we’ve all gone through these past few years,” Liebler said. “I’m going to be celebrating the unprecedented times that all of us have gone through while also celebrating a time again. The entire idea of graduation is looking toward the future and commencement routing in the word that it’s commencing the beginning.”

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