Gadsden State drive-thru graduation details
Gadsden State Community College has announced more details about the upcoming drive-thru graduation that is replacing the traditional commencement ceremonies due to the threat of spreading COVID-19.
“We had to think outside the box when the decision was made not to host the in-person ceremonies,” said Laura Swann, Gadsden State’s registrar. “We still want to host an event that will honor our graduates and recognize their accomplishments while limiting direct contact and allowing for social distancing.”
The drive-thru graduation will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 on Gadsden State’s Wallace Drive campus. It is open to both spring and summer semester graduates. Caps and gowns are optional.
“Graduates can celebrate this milestone with whomever they want to have in the car with them,” said Swann, who is organizing the event. “Family and friends are encouraged to attend with their graduate as long as they are all able to fit in the same vehicle.
“Multiple graduates can also occupy the same vehicle. They can use decorated trucks and convertibles for a parade-like atmosphere.”
Graduates and their guests should remain in their vehicles at all times. With the exception of a limited number of faculty and staff, no one will be allowed to be on campus outside their vehicles. Employees will also be positioned along sidewalks to greet students in their vehicles and give them instructions on how to proceed along the drive-thru graduation route.
“We will have employees stationed at a registration area along the route so that students never have to exit their vehicles,” Swann said. “Employees will come to the vehicle while practicing social distancing guidelines.”
Graduates may begin arriving at 5:30 p.m. to line up for the drive-thru graduation. In order to get in the vehicle line, it is important that graduates enter the Wallace Drive Campus at the top of the hill by Browder Hall via the red light located at Padenreich Avenue and Wallace Drive intersection.
The actual ceremony, which will take place near Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center, will include an announcement of the student’s name and a presentation from GSCC President Martha Lavender. A photograph will be taken during the presentation. The photo will be available online for purchase from Village Photographers following the ceremony.
The video of the event in its entirety will be posted on Gadsden State social media platforms and website by 5 p.m. Aug. 12.
“We understand the disappointment felt by graduates, their families and friends due to not having a traditional commencement ceremony,” Swann said. “We have considered every possible option that would allow us to celebrate our graduates while practicing the safety guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19. Drive-thru graduations have proven to be fun, safe events at other community colleges throughout the state, and we know Gadsden State’s will be, too. We appreciate everyone for their understanding during this challenging time.”