Commencement committee tasked with planning of virtual graduation ceremony due COVID-19 regulations


The largest graduation class at El Camino College to date attends graduation at Murdock Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2019. Due to coronavirus concerns, ECC commencement committee is making plans for a virtual graduation ceremony for this semester’s Class of 2020. Elena Perez/The Union

Due to the stay-at-home order and campus closure, El Camino College’s commencement committee is making plans for a virtual graduation ceremony for this semester’s Class of 2020, officials said.

ECC’s 73rd Annual Commencement Ceremony was originally supposed to take place Friday June 12, at 4 p.m. in Murdock Stadium, but in lieu of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, ECC’s commencement committee has been tasked with working with students to find a creative solution by designing a commencement ceremony that will honor them for their accomplishments in a virtual environment, ECC President Dena Maloney said.

“I can really understand the concern that students might have if they are scheduled to graduate this term,” Maloney said. “We have to look at commencement differently. We have to figure out how we can create a meaningful experience for students that does not involve large gatherings of people.”

Even though there have been minor hiccups in the past such as weather problems, this has been the first time a graduation ceremony at ECC has ever encountered a complication like the COVID-19 pandemic, Maloney added.

“I know many colleges and universities are struggling with how to design the appropriate kind of event for students in this kind of environment,” Maloney said.

While she did not plan to walk at first, Ivy Plaza, a graduating student, said her friends encouraged her to attend the commencement in June.

“Now that the commencement might not even happen because of COVID-19, I genuinely feel bummed. I want to have one last memory with them before we go our separate ways,” Plaza said.

Marco Vasquez, another graduating ECC student, said he felt like good times got taken away from him.

Despite plans for a virtual graduation, the awarding of degrees is still going to happen, Maloney said.

The commencement committee is working hard with students from the Associated Student Organization, ECC’s student government, to keep the college’s tradition and legacy alive, Maloney said.

“We want to have a ceremony that is meaningful, that can be enjoyed with their families at home, that will allow them to be honored for their achievement in earning a degree or certificate,” Maloney said. “For many students this is a long journey, and we know how hard they work to accomplish this and get this across the finish line.”