First Wittenborg Students to Graduate Virtually as Part of "Hybrid" Ceremony
For the first time in its history Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will live-stream its Summer Graduation Ceremony on Friday, 10 July, in addition to hosting a small, intimate gathering of graduates and essential staff at its main campus in Apeldoorn. It will also be the first time that a group of students will graduate virtually – mainly those who either find themselves outside the Netherlands or cannot attend the ceremony in person for other reasons.
Initially it was thought that this year's ceremony would be cancelled after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Netherlands in March and all education was hastily moved online. However, from 1 July the Dutch government has relaxed several restrictions, which include allowing all institutions of higher education to offer physical classes again.
Wittenborg's Communications & Events Coordinator, Nadia Zaman, said it has now settled on a hybrid version of the ceremony. About 60% of graduates will attend a low-key ceremony next Friday while the rest will graduate online. No guests are allowed and only staff members who are essential to the ceremony will be present. Some academic supervisors who will introduce the graduates will also do it virtually.
The keynote speaker this year is Jack Pieterson, member of Wittenborg's Advisory Board since 2012, and a director at paper-based packaging giant Smurfit Kappa. Zaman said various precautionary measures will be in place. "We will limit the number of attendees – though graduates had the option of whether they want to attend virtually or in person. Everyone is also required to wear a mask, observe social distancing rules and catering will be individually packaged." Family and friends of the graduates will be able to follow proceedings online. An invite to attend virtually will be sent by email.
Unlike other ceremonies, graduates will receive their gowns and will be guided by support staff through the process of putting them on, instead of being helped by staff themselves.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press