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Virtual commencement: University of Michigan celebrates graduates online

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – There have been so many major milestones missed because of COVID-19.

The University of Michigan was supposed to have its graduation ceremonies Saturday. Instead of canceling the event, they decided to honor students online.

RELATED: University of Michigan hosting daylong virtual commencement event on Saturday

Like most graduates, Benjamin Moy worked hard to earn his degree. This was supposed to be a short window where he could celebrate his Bachelor of Science degree and reflect before he starts at University of Michigan Medical School this summer

“It is very very different to not be in the Big House with thousands and thousands of other people and the graduates,” Moy said.

He should have been crossing the stage at Michigan Stadium, but instead he watched a virtual ceremony from home.

“Even though it’s disappointing, I look at two things at Michigan,” Moy said. “I look at the community and the opportunity.”

UofM honored its newest graduates with a personal message from President Mark Schlissel and videos of students reflecting on their experience.

“I think it’s interesting to see how there’s an emphasis placed on the first responders on the doctors and the nurses,” Moy said. “We’re seeing a certain degree of appreciation and gratefulness for a very critical component of our society.”

In the midst of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, Moy says the field of medicine will never be the same.

“There’s going to be a greater emphasis on epidemiology, a greater emphasis on making sure that we have protection for workers all across the board,” Moy said.

He hopes the white-coat ceremony in July won’t be canceled and said he wants his family to be by his side.

“Coming from an immigrant family, I certainly would really love both of my grandmothers to be there,” Moy said. “Just an opportunity to honor their sacrifices and to see their sacrifices realized.”

Moy wanted to become a doctor at age five when he lost his grandfather to liver cancer.

He said whether or not the white coat ceremony is canceled, the class of 2020 should know they’re not alone.

“I laughed because I think that this, the lack of a commencement ceremony, means that we don’t have that milestone,” Moy said. “But at the same time, we’re going to be remembered as the class that never had that milestone, so I guess you have it the best either way.”

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

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