While the global pandemic has altered many aspects of the spring semester for students at Niagara County Community College (NCCC), the administration wanted to ensure graduates still received a proper acknowledgment of their accomplishments. For many students, receiving a diploma is the ultimate symbol of years of hard work and dedication to their studies, and the staff at NCCC wanted to make the process as fun as possible under the circumstances.
After a bit of brainstorming, members of the commencement committee at the College decided that repurposing the campus shuttle for delivering diplomas was a unique way to bring a special moment to deserving graduates. The Class of 2020 was excited to share the special moment with their families and some even dressed in their caps and gowns to receive their diplomas at their homes while NCCC staff cheered them on and took photos to commemorate the occasion.
Graduates also had the option to participate in a diploma pick-up on campus at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute or on the Sanborn Campus of NCCC. At each location, graduates had an opportunity to get pictures with their families and some graduates were even able to pose for photos with NCCC President, William Murabito as they normally would at commencement. “One of the advantages of being at a community college is that the staff and administration are very invested in the students, and they pushed to create these meaningful experiences for graduates despite the inability to have a traditional commencement ceremony,” said President Murabito.
At NCCC, many students balance their educational pursuits with job and family responsibilities at the same time, so the completion of degree and certificate programs comes with many sacrifices. Graduates and their families made the most of the diploma delivery and pick-up experience, including the Rivera family. Maritza Rivera arrived on campus with several members of her family, balloons and noisemakers, proving a formal commencement ceremony is not the only reason to celebrate.