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WCU hosting limited in-person graduation ceremonies

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 2:23 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - More than 1,000 students at William Carey University are graduating this spring in small in-person ceremonies, that are designed to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

About 50 students in the fields of music and religion graduated in a brief ceremony Friday morning at the Thomas Fine Arts Auditorium.

It was one of three that were scheduled for the Hattiesburg campus on Friday.

Three more commencement ceremonies are set for Saturday on the Hattiesburg campus and two others are scheduled for May 17 in Gulfport.

Last year, all of the university’s graduation exercises were held virtually.

“(Things are) quite a bit different,” said Tommy King, president of William Carey University. “We are actually having twelve ceremonies over this week and next and smaller groups, shorter ceremonies.”

“Last year, we had virtual and it’s just not the same. It doesn’t give us the opportunity to congratulate them and show them our support,” King said.

“It’s encouraging to hear that we were doing an in-person graduation so that brought excitement to the table,” said David Kanga, a graduate who received his Master of Music degree. “Just having the idea and the thought and making it happen, an in-person graduation helped bring up morale.”

“I didn’t know if we were going to be able to have an in-person graduation ceremony, so it’s a real honor to be able to get out here and do the real thing live and in-person with everybody else,” said Anita Welch Lynn, who received a Master of Music Education.

“I’m really thankful to William Carey, I think they prepared me well for the next phase of my life,” said Branson Blanton, a graduate who received a bachelor of music degree. “We’ve had everything thrown at us, so the Class of 2021 is prepared for anything.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that WCU has graduated more than 1,000 students in spring ceremonies.

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