Northwest College will not hold its traditional spring commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for May 9, due to concerns about large gatherings related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Instead, NWC is currently making plans for a virtual commencement ceremony that will be broadcast live Friday, May 15, at 7 p.m. Additionally, other plans are underway for celebrating this year’s graduates including a custom “celebration box” that will be mailed to all graduating students with their caps and gowns, plus other keepsake items.
“A virtual graduation does mean a departure from our traditions, but reimagining NWC’s commencement ceremony does not mean cancelling it,” NWC President Stefani Hicswa said. “As we have all experienced over the last several weeks, technology presents a truly unique opportunity to come together. And while the format for this year’s commencement is different, our enthusiasm for celebrating our students has never been more inspired.”
The virtual ceremony will follow the regular program as closely as possible. Graduates are invited to join their virtual commencement via Zoom, and faculty and staff who wish to wear their regalia are also encouraged to partake in the ceremony.
There will be introductory music with the national anthem sung by NWC student Emilie Asay, speakers including this year’s distinguished alumnus Clay Cummins, the conferral of degrees and the reading of graduates’ names.
After graduating from NWC in 1961, Cummins attended the University of Denver where he earned a degree in business administration. A draft notice summoned him to the U.S. Army, launching a military career that would span 25 years. A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Cummins served in administrative roles behind combat lines during both the Vietnam and Korean wars. He completed his final oversees duty in Germany before being reassigned to Washington, D.C., in 1983 to serve his last five years in the Pentagon. After retiring from military service and moving back to Montana, Cummins has dedicated himself to giving back to NWC. He’s spent countless hours serving on the NWC Alumni Association Board of Directors since 1999 and the NWC Foundation Board since 2004.
Plus, for those who are social media enthusiasts, NWC is also launching a “#NWCgrad2020” hashtag campaign to collect photos and videos of graduates to include in a compilation video that will play at the end of the ceremony after the closing remarks. In addition to those who are graduating, faculty, staff, area residents and family members of graduates are also encouraged to share a positive message on social media, such as a congratulations or thank you, using the hashtag #NWCgrad2020.
Students will be provided with a Zoom link where they can join their fellow graduates Friday, May 15, at 7 p.m. Family and friends are invited to tune in and watch the live ceremony at https://nwc.edu/celebrate2020.
Spring 2020 graduates are also invited to walk at a future commencement ceremony, if they desire to do so.
For more information, contact NWC Interim Vice President for Student Services Dee Havig at Dee.Havig@nwc.edu or 307-754-6102.