May 12, 2021
Graduating seniors at Mars Hill University will walk the stage for their commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 15, but with some modifications for social distancing and safety related to the coronavirus. In addition to approximately 201 students who completed their degree requirements in the spring semester, the spring commencement also will include Mars Hill’s December 2020 graduates, nearly 40 of whom have indicated they plan to attend. The ceremony will begin at 12:15 p.m.
The format of the spring 2021 ceremony will be similar to what the university offered last October for 2020 graduates who saw their in-person May graduation fall victim to COVID-19. Although some mandated restrictions on event attendance have been loosened, President Tony Floyd said the university wants to ensure the event is “as safe as possible for [the graduates’] families, especially those…more vulnerable to the virus.”
Graduates will process across the Lunsford Commons quadrangle area of the upper campus, accompanied by their chosen guests. The graduates will cross the stage while their guests watch from the sidewalk in front of it. Individual graduates and their guests will wait in a socially-distanced line for their opportunity to approach the stage. President Floyd will present diplomas and other university leaders also will be on the stage to congratulate each graduate.
Because of the format of the commencement ceremony, there will not be a guest speaker. Graduating senior Danielle Fann of Weaverville, North Carolina, will present a solo flute performance.
The university will livestream the graduation ceremony for guests who are not able to attend in-person. The livestream will begin at 12 p.m., and will be accessible through the university website.
To facilitate social distancing, graduates will be grouped by their academic majors, with groupings staggered throughout the afternoon. These are the groupings and anticipated times of their processions: