PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Hundreds of chairs filled Shea Stadium this weekend for 2021 commencement ceremonies for Bradley University.
It’s the first time the school hosted its graduation ceremonies outside.
“After this last year of crazy it’s just nice to do something normal. I’m just really excited the ceremonies are happening in-person,” said one Bradley parent.
As the coronavirus spread, many events like graduations were canceled last year, moving celebrations online.
“Zoom really drew the energy out of everyone so it’s definitely a blessing to be here in person,” said 2021 Bradley Graduate, Jeremiah Lee.
Organizers at Bradley University said they made sure those graduates weren’t left behind.
“I was glad like the 2020 graduates even got the chance to come back and have their ceremony as well,” said Lee.
Jay Goldberger has two daughters, one graduated in 2020 and the other graduated this weekend. He said ceremonies like these are special for parents and he’s happy that he was able to watch it in-person this year. Even though this year isn’t how it normally is, he said it’s better than no celebration at all.
“Basically she came home and she was graduated, there was no ceremony there was no nothing and she came in and we went into lockdown so this is going to be much more fun,” said Goldberger.
Bradley broke graduations into smaller groups and hosted a total of 7 ceremonies this weekend. One graduate said community support is what got him here.
“Interacting with people has been incredibly difficult this past year but it’s thanks to the efforts of Bradley, it’s professors and all its students,” said 2021 Bradley Graduate, Max Rutschke.