Mineral Area College is working on having a recorded commencement ceremony for its spring 2020 graduates.
President Dr. Joe Gilgour gave the update on his Pop-Up President Facebook Live video last Wednesday.
Graduation ceremonies on May 9 had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“What we are thinking about doing is an opportunity to have a recorded commencement ceremony that we would broadcast that would still celebrate our graduates,” Gilgour said. “It wouldn’t be as good as the real thing, of course. But your name would still be on there.
"You would still be celebrated as a graduate. We are working on that right now.”
This is Gilgour’s first commencement as president at MAC.
“I’m sorry,” Gilgour added. “I hate it, I really do, that commencement’s not going to happen. I’ve only been president here less than a year and I was really looking forward to my first commencement at Mineral Area College.
"Just as I know all of you graduates were looking forward to this event, and all of your families and friends and people coming to see you. I know it was a big deal. I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sorry this has to happen. But it’s like I said, your health and safety are our biggest priority.”
Gilgour was asked during his update about the possibility of having an in-person ceremony in mid-July, but he said it’s still too uncertain.
“Because we don’t know the certainty of what’s going to happen and where we are going to be in July, it’s impossible to say whether it would be a safe environment,” Gilgour responded. “And we don’t want to risk the safety of people by committing to a July date, putting a bunch of work into it and everybody getting ready to come and having to cancel it again. So this year is just going to look a little different, unfortunately.”
All summer classes at MAC have been moved online and all summer events on campus have been cancelled. But Gilgour said they are hoping to offer some on-ground services this summer.
He said they are hoping to reopen some offices and have some employees back to work on campus, starting May 18. They plan to reevaluate closer to that date to see if it needs to be extended.
“So that those who prefer to have face-to-face interaction to get their services met, can come into campuses and do that,” Gilgour said.
MAC has also started an emergency relief fund for students during the pandemic.
“In response to the students’ pressing needs, we have created an Emergency Student Relief Fund to help ensure the safety and success of our students,” MAC Director of Development Kevin Thurman said in a letter that can be found on the school’s website. “The Relief Fund is designated to offset a variety of obstacles our students are facing during this ever-changing crisis.
"Although the needs vary, at every turn the situation has created unforeseen circumstances for many of the students we serve. Many students need assistance with technology to enable the continuation and completion of courses virtually. Others are struggling to obtain the basic necessities such as food and hygiene products, health care, transportation and housing.”
Thurman said they have already raised $10,050 as of Monday.
“Our community has a longstanding tradition of rallying behind those in need and it is a true reflection of the compassion and caring nature of our supporters,” Thurman said in his letter.
Individuals can donate on the school’s website at https://mineralarea.edu/alumnifoundation/ or through the mail at Emergency Student Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1000, Park Hills, MO 63601.
Nikki Overfelt is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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