UNCW seniors voice concerns over spring graduation postponement

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — UNCW Seahawks getting ready to graduate this spring now have a new date for their commencement ceremony, but some seniors think the university might push it back again.

Chancellor Jose Sartarelli said in an email to students Monday that he does not expect the date of spring commencement to change again. However, students say they’re worried there could be some issues holding the ceremony in August.

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“I feel like no matter what they do someone’s going to be mad, because what everybody wants is actual graduation and that’s not possible anymore,” said UNCW senior Kelsey Singer.

UNCW spring commencement ceremonies were postponed indefinitely on March 19.

“I was very bummed, because I got two degrees,” said UNCW senior Lauren Tuozzolo. “So those are two degrees I’m not getting closure of.”

Now, the university has announced the new dates would be August 7-8.

“Initially I was really excited about it, because it would give me a chance to walk across that stage with my peers who I’ve worked really hard with for four years, and just have that graduation experience,” said UNCW senior Julia Singer.

But despite her initial reaction, Singer believes the later date could pose some logistical and financial challenges.

“That also brings up a concern of whether or not the hotels are going to be able to handle that,” she said. “Because not only are you going to have friends and family coming in from out of town, but also all of the students who don’t still live in Wilmington are going to have to travel.”

She also worries that those starting graduate programs and careers may not be able to attend at all. And she’s not alone.

“I really do want a graduation, and obviously it’s nice that they’re trying, but it just feels weirder in August, like I don’t know if I can actually go to it yet,” Kelsey Singer said.

Students also worry graduation could be delayed even longer, or become an online ceremony.

“I’m definitely worried that it could be canceled again, but hopefully not,” Tuozzolo said.

Sartarelli says he has put together a task force to assess the possibilities for the fall semester, and the university is encouraging its students to register for fall classes.

Click here to read the Chancellor’s full message.