COVID disrupted 2020 graduations; now it’s time to celebrate

April 23, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — About 1,500 University of Missouri graduates who didn’t get the chance to walk across the stage last year because of the pandemic are returning to campus this weekend for a long-delayed celebration.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Annie Adrian will bring her 7-week-old son Nico with her, along with her parents and two sisters, as she marks the milestone.

“I took the idea of walking for granted once the pandemic began,” said Adrian, who majored in hospitality management. “It will be even more special now because my son will get to see me graduate. It was a huge motivation for coming back.”

Graduates were able to get up to six tickets for family and friends to gather in “pods” at a social distance from each other in Mizzou Arena and the Hearnes Center. Masks will be required.

Mawa Iqbal, a December graduate, is returning from Dayton, Ohio. Iqbal, who majored in convergence journalism, is a first-generation college graduate and the daughter of immigrants from Pakistan.

“I think my parents are more excited than I am,” she said. “This is a huge deal for my family.”

Commencement ceremonies for 2021 graduates are planned for the first two weekends in May.