Students optimistic as UTSA announces plans for in-person commencement

Bella Nieto, News Editor

This week, UTSA announced its plans to hold in-person commencement ceremonies. For students graduating in Spring 2021, commencement will be held May 14-16, and students who graduated in May 2020 and December 2020 will be allowed to walk the stage the following weekend, May 21-23. The location, time and date will be based on the graduate’s college and can be found on the commencement page of the UTSA website. 


Although the university has tried to keep the ceremonies as traditional and as close to pre-pandemic life as possible, the Spring celebration will have a few caveats. For instance, no guests will be allowed.


Although graduation festivities will diverge greatly from the usual expectation of such a celebration, students are still optimistic and grateful for any in-person gathering at all. “I think having an in-person ceremony with no guests is still worth it,” Yaa Kwayie-Kyem, graduating psychology major, said. “It’s a nice alternative and at least families and friends can watch their loved one walk via live stream.  


Similarly, Jaelyn Nelson, graduating communications major, expressed her gratitude for the university’s revelry. “Having a ceremony with no guests is worth it because the symbolism of walking across the stage outweigh the lack of audience,” Nelson said. “I am glad I can re-watch it and my family can still watch online.”


For students who opt out of an in-person graduation ceremony, there is a virtual option. The university will also be hosting the Commencement Drive, a parade around Main Campus, to promote family participation in graduation festivities. The two students committed to participating in the drive-thru commencement to bask in the ceremony as much as possible. The two also mentioned alternative celebrations like small gatherings with their immediate family and close friends. 


Both students expressed how important it is to look on the optimistic side of the pandemic, that even though it is unprecedented it is an experience to champion. “The odd format of the ceremony doesn’t take away from the significance of the last four years,” Kwayie-Kyem said. “Honestly, I still had a great four years at UTSA and have a lifetime of memories.”