These South Carolina collegians got a memorable send-off in pandemic

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 6:29 AM EDT
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Monday, June 8, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -- Graduations for University of South Carolina students have been pushed back to August, but that didn't stop some from celebrating earlier.

On Sunday, nearly 30 families put together a ceremony for students of the College of Education. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson was the keynote speaker. He also asked university President Bob Caslen to join him.

It happened after the university decided not to hold in-person graduations this year because of concerns over COVID-19.

This ceremony wasn’t your typical turning of the tassels.

It was held under the Hewitt Pavilion in Chapin instead of on campus in Columbia.

“We’ve been together for two years so it really was special to be together one last time,” said Taylor Huneycutt, one of the graduates.

The families present were happy to celebrate the accomplishments of their new grads, even if it was in an unconventional way.

All of the soon-to-be educators wore their caps and gowns and made the traditional march to their seats while music played.

“This is really a day where we can do something positive for our community for all of these young women who are graduating today,” said Wilson. “To be able to let them know we stand behind them as they enter this new chapter in their life.”

While Caslen helped these students close out their college careers, his eyes were also fully focused on plans for future students.

He says the university is planning for a 10% drop in enrollment for this coming school year, and that drop is expected to be included in their budget which should be approved at the end of this month.

“I’m confident the plan is going to be a good plan. It’s not going to be perfect we aren’t going to have a perfect situation but I think we have a plan that’s really solid,” added Caslen. “The one good thing about the plan is we’re ramping up throughout the summer so we are going to learn a lot.”

Caslen also mentioned that the students and faculty members will have the option to return or to continue to learn and take classes online.

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