Loyola considers in-person diploma ceremony after student complaints


A Loyola sign sits bathed in sunlight outside Marquette Hall.

Gabriella Killett

Loyola is asking graduating seniors to vote on whether they would prefer an in-person diploma ceremony in the UNO Lakefront Arena, or Loyola’s current plan of a drive-through ceremony on campus.

President Tania Tetlow set out a survey in an email Thursday asking graduating students to give their input on their preferred ceremony after a petition began in an attempt to change the university’s 2021 commencement plans.

“We are willing to make that switch if you prefer it,” Tetlow said in the email. “But I want you to really understand the limits of what a group ceremony would look like. Simply put, there are no perfect options this year.”

With the UNO Arena option, the university would hold ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16 loosely by college. Ceremonies would take place Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each student would be allowed four guests as the graduates would be allowed to walk across the stage with social distancing in the arena. The ceremony would be limited to 90 minutes. No faculty would be able to attend due to COVID restrictions.

Otherwise, the university will go forward with its current plan for a campus drive-through “parade,” in which students would be assigned a time to participate and drive through campus with live music, lights and decorated cars. When at Marquette Hall, graduates would receive their diplomas. With this option, Tetlow said there is an opportunity to have more guests based on the size of the car.

“My personal feeling is that the parade would actually prove more fun and more meaningful,” Tetlow said in the email.

Tetlow said the primary goal is to celebrate graduating students.

The survey sent out to graduating seniors will close at midnight on Sunday, April 4 so that a decision can be provided to UNO, Tetlow said in the email.