'I had a watch party': MSU's class of 2020 embrace virtual graduation amid COVID-19

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 17:00:09-04

(WXYZ) — After years of hard work college graduates are still receiving degrees, but graduation ceremonies have had to be canceled in the midst of the pandemic.

Michigan State University preserved as much of the tradition as they were able through a live streaming ceremony even encouraging students to wear a cap and gown in their living room.

The 2020 Michigan State commencement began with pomp and circumstance – under very different circumstances.

"I had a watch party, mom dad and brother and we had grandma on FaceTime," says Tyler Rozwadowski, now an MSU grad with a degree in computer science engineering.

"Even though I’m not at the university walking the stage like I’d always hoped, I got to sit and be safe on the couch with my parents and my family, which I know is something to be really grateful for right now," says Sydney Naseef, an MSU grad a degree in journalism and public relations.

Together yet apart, a live streaming ceremony featured the talents of fellow graduates and many prominent spartan alumni offering words of encouragement.

"That was pretty cool, knowing we are not alone going into the world, I was very thankful for that," says Rozwadowski.

After several speeches came the big moment: the turning of the tassel.

Sydney’s mom had the camera rolling!

"She of course made me stand in front of the screen and get that little tassel moved over and officially become an alumni! Which was still special, not the same, but still special," says Naseef.

Though the present is challenging and the future is uncertain, the class of 2020 is facing it with hope.

"I just accepted a full time position for Amazon to be a software engineer there," says Rozwadowski.

This year's graduates have faced obstacles and overcome. It's just one of many more victories in life to come.

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