The 2021 graduating class of Lower Columbia College will have a virtual ceremony due to current state guidelines, the college announced this week.
“When we planned our first virtual Commencement in 2020, we assumed it was a one-time thing,” LCC President Chris Bailey wrote in a letter to LCC staff and students. “A year ago, many of us couldn’t have imagined that the pandemic would last this long or cause so much disruption in our lives.”
The college is working with architecture and design firm rhiza A+D to create a commemorative art installation at the library to honor the Class of 2021, Bailey said.
“Your perseverance and dedication in spite of overwhelming obstacles is truly an inspiration, and we want to express our gratitude,” he said.
Last year, the college told the class of 2020 it would have the chance to walk in the 2021 ceremony, as it was assumed the pandemic would be under control at that point.
“Please accept my sincere apology that we are unable to extend that opportunity after all,” Bailey said.
He said that as state guidelines restrict events to no more than 200 people, “due to the sheer size of our event” the college decided virtual was once again the best option. The commencement typically draws thousands of people each year. Local high schools have not yet made decisions about their graduation ceremonies, which also largely were virtual last year.
“I’m sure this news will be disappointing for some of you. We are working hard to bring you an engaging virtual program and a drive-through celebration to add an in-person element to the festivities,” Bailey said.
The 2021 virtual ceremony will go live online at 6:30 p.m. June 18, he said, and more details about the ceremony and the drive-through event will be shared later as the college plans for them.
“We are extremely excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our amazing Class of 2021,” Bailey said. “Thanks for your persistence and grit.”