University Of Illinois Class Of 2021 Graduates Reflect On COVID Graduation – About Your Online Magazine



URBAN – The bells rang in the main quadrangle at the University of Illinois while seniors lined up at Alma Mater to take pictures of graduation at the Altgeld Tower.

From left to right: Karolina Koziarski, Meera Joshi, Miku Morikuni, Katie Roscher and Grace Mcdonough huddle together to take a photo at Memorial Stadium. The group has been friends since the first year and made taking pictures together an annual tradition. Sabrina Lee

Pandemic or not, May is still the graduation season on Urbana’s campus.

It is estimated that 5,600 students at the University of Illinois graduated during the weekend of May 15. However, for many of them, this weekend’s graduation ceremonies were less than they expected.

The 2021 of the university graduation ceremonies consisted mainly of a personal, individual, private stage crossing ceremony with few guests, combined with a virtual celebration in recognition of all trainees.

Many senior students said they were happy to get any kind of graduation after such an awkward academic year.

The pandemic kept trainee Miku Morikuni separated from her family for a year. And now that has prevented your father from attending your graduation.

“My dad is still working and a lot of work has been done in person again in Japan,” she said. “So it is logistically difficult for him to take three weeks off from work, even though he only stayed in the United States for a week for my graduation.

“He would have to go back to Japan and be in quarantine for two weeks, and that was logistically very difficult.”

Tyler Schwartzoff, a graduate in Chemical Engineering, said he wants the university to provide more than it has in terms of celebration for graduates.

Morikuni and Roscher spin to take a picture during a graduation photo shoot. The two have been roommates for three years and are as close as possible. Sabrina Lee

“I think the university is more trying to do the bare minimum to placate people, rather than actually trying to do something to celebrate,” said Schwartzoff.

Laura Wilhelm-Barr, director of special events at the university, said the main objective is to celebrate graduates.

“We are very proud of everything, especially during this year that the graduates have done and of all the hard work they have done,” she said. “We want to do everything we can to help you celebrate, you know, what a great achievement it is to be a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.”



Paula Fonseca