Seniors express concerns regarding online commencement

Krystal Ortiz, News Editor

Iona College announced that they will be holding an online commencement ceremony for graduating seniors on April 17.


Due to the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the college decided to hold the ceremony online, where eligible students will graduate and degrees will be conferred, as a precautionary measure on May 16.


Although graduating seniors recognize the school’s efforts to be safe, many of them have mixed emotions about the decision.


“I would never have expected for the graduation to be held as planned, and I’m glad that Iona is taking social distancing seriously,” senior Katherine Conner said. “I understand why it’s been moved to an online ceremony, but I can’t help but wish it had just been postponed.”


Senior Emily Herasme feels as if an important part of her life has been taken away.


“…I worked so hard throughout my four years in order to be able to walk across that stage,” Herasme said. “It makes it even harder for my family since I will be a first-generation college student. They waited so long for this just for it to be taken away. I think that a virtual graduation would not do us justice.”


The college understands the disappointment surrounding the decision but emphasizes that seniors shouldn’t feel as if graduation defines their college experience.


“While commencement is an important milestone, it is a snapshot in time,” Iona said in an email to graduating seniors. “Your college experience is made up of thousands of special moments with classmates and faculty, resulting in hard-earned accomplishments,”


While this decision is difficult to accept, many seniors recognize that the school is trying their best to celebrate the class of 2020 amidst the current situation.


“The positives are definitely the fact that Iona is trying,” Herasme said. They are putting in an effort to honor us on the day that we were scheduled to.”


The coronavirus pandemic has altered lives everywhere and has led to difficult decision making. Ultimately, many students are upset with the decision but believe Iona has taken the right steps considering the reality of what is happening.


“I think that considering the circumstances, Iona made a good decision, though part of me wishes that we had gotten it postponed so we can have our ceremony in person, rather than splitting commencement in an online and a to-be-determined in-person celebration,” senior Stephanie DiGiovanna said.


Iona is open to feedback on the decision. If you are a graduating senior interested in providing input, ideas and suggestions on the commencement ceremony, visit the 2020 Commencement Portal at