Today Magazine Summer 2021 - Page 4


Celebrating the Class of 2021

By : Meghan Orsino

Thanks to the hard work and coordination of the Commencement Planning Committees , GMercyU was able to celebrate the Class of 2021 with in-person , socially-distanced Commencement Ceremonies and festivities at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks . Instead of two traditional Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies , GMercyU honored the 773 graduates with seven individual ceremonies over the course of the weekend to ensure proper safety and social distancing .

On May 7 , Gwynedd Mercy University hosted the annual Baccalaureate Mass for All to kick off Commencement weekend , with Archbishop Nelson J . Pérez of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as the presider . Hosted to bless the current graduating class , the Baccalaureate Mass is an annual traditional Catholic Mass that is open to everyone of different faiths and backgrounds .
During the homily , the Archbishop shared words of encouragement and advice for the Class of 2021 graduates . He specifically emphasized the importance of gratitude , trust , and love , encouraging
2 TODAY the graduates to embrace them as they continue on their journeys .
On both Friday and Saturday , the Class of 2021 and their loved ones gathered at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks for their designated Commencement Ceremony , and to honor the graduates . Each ceremony opened with the faculty procession and provided each graduate the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma and have professional photos taken .
All the Commencement festivities were planned with safety in mind . The ultimate goal was to ensure that graduates could celebrate their special day together and in-person , while following and maintaining Montgomery County COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols . Having seven separate Commencement Ceremonies allowed the graduates to partake in a small , personal ceremony while also allowing them to invite two guests each . Each graduate and their guests sat in “ pods ” to keep families together and ensure that social distancing was maintained . Additionally , in between ceremonies , all seats were sanitized to prepare for the next round of graduates and guests .