Clarke 2020 graduates are feeling very disappointed about the postponement of their graduation ceremony for a full year. Since graduation, students have moved on and found jobs; however many of those students are very upset that they will need to wait another 9 months before celebrating this milestone.
Recent graduate Elena Dominguez is feeling very disappointed about the postponement of graduation because she was so excited to be acknowledged for her hard work. Dominguez feels as if her accomplishments are going unnoticed and she is not getting the acknowledgement that she deserves. Dominguez graduated with a degree in social work and has now moved on to grad school at Clarke University to get her master’s degree in social work. As of now, Dominguez will get recognized for her master’s degree in 2021, she does not feel she will get the same acknowledgement for her bachelor’s degree she completed in 2020. According to Dominguez, she would rather have stuck with the in-person ceremony rather than going virtual. Dominguez stated, “I am just over it, but not at the same time.” She is still very upset about waiting until 2021, but also feels like they are done and over with not being acknowledged.
Another May 2020 graduate, Toni Naab, is also feeling very disappointed about the postpone of graduation and believes it isn’t fair for them to have to be a part of the 2021 graduation ceremony. But like Dominguez, Naab graduated with a degree in social work and is also in the same master’s program as Dominguez. Both will get to graduate in 2021 with their master’s degree. Dominguez and Naab do not see how they will get recognized for their four years of hard work to get their bachelor’s degree at the 2021 commencement ceremony. They both think that when the May 2021 ceremony does come, they might get partial recognition for their bachelor’s degree but not what they would have at their own commencement ceremony. Dominguez and Naab also feel that how COVID is going now that in the future for the 2021 ceremony, it may not even happen and will be put in the same position twice. Naab mentioned how she received her certificate in the mail but no case to put her certificate in, like she would have if she got to walk on stage for commencement. Naab said, “I want a refund for my gown and everything I had to pay for graduation.” Dominguez also felt the same way and thought that since they did not get to use it for any special cause that she also wants a refund for them. After expressing their anger and disappointment about their graduation being postponed again, Naab expressed how she wished they would send things in the mail to show recognition. Some ideas she said was an “acknowledgment box and some free Clarke gear.” Naab feels that Clarke should have done something better to show acknowledgement for those who graduated in 2020, rather than waiting.
Lauren DeMotta also feels very disappointed about 2020 graduation being postponed. DeMotta graduated with a degrees in psychology and business administration. Before the announcement of cancellation of the October 2020 ceremony, she was so excited about being able to come back for homecoming week and celebrating her graduation ceremony at that point. DeMotta stated that she planned her graduation party the day after the ceremony was supposed to happen. When DeMotta found out that it was cancelled, she even teared up a little bit thinking about how she was not getting recognized for her hard work she put in. DeMotta does not know if she plans on going to the 2021 commencement because at this time, she is over it and she is in a different place in her life since she has gotten a job. As of right now, DeMotta is excited for her graduation party and to move on.
Clarke did not follow other universities in Iowa like The University of Iowa or Iowa State in doing a virtual graduation because President Thom Chesney talked to members of the 2020 senior class and many said, they would “rather have an in-person ceremony rather than virtual.” The class of 2020 was originally going to be recognized on October 3, 2020, during homecoming week. But with COVID cases rising, President Thom Chesney and Clarke’s cabinet decided not to hold an in-person ceremony on that date either. This means that 2020 graduates would be recognized at the 2021 commencement ceremony which, as of now, will be held on May 15, 2021.