Graduation plans still developing

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Andrew Robustelli

The class of 2019’s graduation at Rockefeller Chapel before COVID-19 was known of.

COVID-19 impacted the way the Class of 2020 graduated last May. In recent years, graduation ceremonies were held at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. Last year, with most public facilities closed due to the pandemic, MC graduates and their families graduated from the safety of their cars, parked in rows from end zone to end zone on the field of Barda-Dowling Stadium.  In the midst of torrential rain, students stayed in their cars for the entire ceremony and received their diplomas as they drove off of the field.

Previous graduations haven’t always been held at Rockefeller Chapel. Prior to 1969, graduations were held at St. Clara Church, which at that time was a Carmelite parish located at 64th and Woodlawn. The gradations were then moved to St. Philip Neri Church, where they took place until 1989, when they were moved to Rockefeller Chapel.

In a January 9 interview for this article, Principal Scott Tabernacki stated that as of now, the graduation for the Class of ’21 is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 18, at Rockefeller Chapel. However, given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the administration is developing a back up plan in case things do not go as expected and the chapel in unavailable.

“We are building a contingency plan if the chapel is unavailable and we will make sure we have a ceremony in the best format that we can.”

However, even if Rockefeller Chapel is available, this year’s graduation may not look exactly like those of the past.  It is possible that the number of families who attend in person may be limited, and whoever attends will need to abide by whatever guidelines are established by the city, the state and the university.

 

The Class of 2020 graduation ceremony took place in Barda-Dowling Stadium.  Students and families remained in their cars and received their diplomas as they drove off the field. (Photo credit:  Eleanore Menke)