HAMPTON, VA (WAVY) — Graduation at Hampton University didn’t come with the same excitement as in past years. Virtual prerecorded ceremonies went live on the university’s website to celebrate the milestone.
“We are saddened we are unable to host an in-person ceremony as a result of the risks associated with covid 19,” said Hampton University President William Harvey.
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Back in March, 10 On Your Side spoke to seniors who were frustrated with the decision, hoping to change the university’s mind.
“We will get tested, we will check people’s temperatures, we will split up the days… We just want to have an in-person graduation,” said senior, Aniyah Oberlton.
The show went on Sunday afternoon, as folks sat in hotels and living rooms to watch.
President Harvey said experts reviewed the options for hosting an in-person event, but they wanted it to be safe for everyone.
Back when the decision was made, Northam announced outdoor graduation ceremonies could have up to 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity.
In a statement, the university said it considered multiple options, but one guest per senior and staff to run the event would’ve exceeded the capacity allowed at the football stadium.
With that in mind, they chose to stay virtual. One of the top seniors from the class of 2021 also had some encouraging words, despite not getting to celebrate face to face.
“We are enduring 2 pandemics. one being the coronavirus, the other being racism, yet we stand here today rising above it all,” said Cassie Herring.
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