Concord University hosts virtual commencement

ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – For the first time ever, Concord University held their graduation ceremony virtually.

William Bailey, a manager of radio and TV services at Concord, helped edit together a prerecorded commencement that was then streamed on YouTube. 

“This certainly does not replace a real commencement ceremony, but I think it’s probably the next best thing,” Bailey said. 

Concord staff asked graduates to send in photos of themselves to be used during the commencement. According to Bailey, it took weeks of planning to get all the videos and photos edited together.

“It took two or three weeks worth of compiling all of this media to edit everything together and make a complete ceremony.”

Despite how new this concept is, this isn’t the first commencement in Concord history to be cancelled. Back in December of 2009, a winter storm cancelled graduation ceremonies, and students were instead welcomed back in the Spring the following year for a new one. 

“We had one other commencement where we had a snow storm, and that’s the only other commencement I can recall in the last 17 years that we didn’t have.”

Although this compromise is far from a typical ceremony, Bailey says the staff worked just as hard on it as if it was a normal commencement. It included speeches from the college president, board of governors, valedictorians, and many other faculty members and students. 

“A lot of people worked on this and I think they did it really from the heart because they look forward to commencement ceremonies almost as much as the graduates do.”

Graduating students will be welcomed back to Concord this Fall for the December graduation. 

Many other colleges are following the same formula, and will host virtual ceremonies, with options for later graduations as well.