Michigan State University students celebrate graduation during virtual commencement ceremony

The class of 2020 is celebrated online due to the coronavirus pandemic

There have been so many major milestones missed because of COVID-19. MSU decided to honor its students online since graduation was postponed.
There have been so many major milestones missed because of COVID-19. MSU decided to honor its students online since graduation was postponed.

Earlier this month graduating Michigan State University (MSU) students would have walked across the stage to receive their diploma.

Instead they were honored in a virtual ceremony on Saturday due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

May 16, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 50,504; Death toll now at 4,880 with 28,234 recoveries reported

Some graduates appreciated the gesture, but say it’s certainly not the same as the real thing.

Graduating MSU student Allie Weyand disappointedly spent her graduation celebration in Livonia instead of the college’s home town of East Lansing.

“I was very excited. I worked really hard to get high honors, I have all the cords. I even bought the cap and gown," Weyand said. “I was very excited so I’m very disappointed that it is not happening.”

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The online commencement ceremony -- hosted on MSU’s Facebook page -- is said to be the school’s largest commencement ever.

Weyand and her husband, Henry, however, won’t be paying much attention to the online ceremony.

“It’s probably going to be (on) in the background; we’ve got some home renovations to do,” Allie Weyand said. “I am not as passionate about an online (ceremony); it seems less personal.”

Those home renovations include painting a wall ‘Spartan Green’, as MSU is a big part of their lives.

Weyand’s husband also graduated from Wayne State University during the pandemic, so he did not get to experience an in-person commencement either. He did receive his undergraduate degree from MSU and had a traditional graduation ceremony then.

“We both got our degrees -- nothing can take that away from us. Whether there’s a commencement or not, we got our degrees," Henry Weyand said. "We both finished classes on the same day. I brought home two big bottles of champagne and delicious steaks and that was the best we could do during this time.”

Weyand says she even had a photographer lined up to take graduation pictures at MSU on Saturday. She hopes to visit East Lansing to take those pictures someday in the future.

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About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.