MSJC honors its largest graduating class with a virtual graduation

By Zaina Azim  

The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged many colleges to hold virtual graduations, including Mt. San Jacinto College. Selena Paez-Mendez, the Executive Assistant to Dr. John Colson, the Vice President of Student Services, has provided insight on the timeline of events and methods through which MSJC’s graduation will be livestreamed.  

The event will be streamed on MSJC’s website at 5 p.m. on May 21, and a potential dual stream on Facebook is currently being explored.  

“Graduates will be able to forward our 2020 virtual commencement link to an unlimited number of family and friends,” noted Dr. Colson, who added that the ceremony itself will be recorded to view in the future.  

Dr. Colson also indicated that the 2020 virtual graduates will be given an opportunity to participate in a face-to-face commencement ceremony in the future. 

“The Commencement Planning Team has had this as a priority and we look forward to providing this opportunity,” said Dr. Colson.

Those who will be featured in the ceremony will include Superintendent and President Dr. Roger Schultz, Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jeremy Brown, and several Class of 2020 graduates, including Student Trustee Allison Salas and Student Speaker Yolanda Diego. 

First look at the cover for the 2020 Graduation program. Photo provided by MSJC Public Information and Marketing

According to Selena Paez-Mendez, students may obtain regalia (caps, gowns, pride sashes, etc.)  from MSJC’s Eagle Bookstore  which can be worn during the virtual ceremony. Prior to graduation, all graduates will be mailed a tassel, alumni pin, and mortarboard clapper, and diploma covers and printed graduation programs will be mailed post-graduation.  

MSJC is proud to be honoring more than 1,800 students, its largest participating class ever recorded. 

Dr. Colson has commented on the ceremony’s events, where the college hopes to honor graduates through “individual name recitation and submitted photos” (available at the MSJC Graduation website).  

The ceremony will spotlight hard-working graduates who have overcome “insurmountable odds and challenges to rise like true eagles during this COVID 19 crisis and before” through special video vignettes.  

The MSJC Board and faculty will also receive special video shoutouts during the ceremony. Although the lack of a face-to-face ceremony is regretful, Dr. Colson would like to thank and congratulate the Graduating Class of 2020 for their understanding and participation to make this a great ceremony for everyone. 

To encourage students to participate, MSJC plans to hold a Cap Challenge, where graduates may decorate and personalize their homemade or purchased mortarboards (caps). The challenge will run on Instagram from May 4-15, and more information can be accessed through MSJC’s graduation website or Instagram.  

MSJC’s recent “Song Challenge” on Instagram now has an announced winner, Rick Mendieta, who submitted a rendition of MSJC’s theme song, “Eagles Rise.”  

Omar Akbari shared his thoughts on MSJC’s new virtual graduation. As a biochemistry major, the transition from face-to-face to online classes has positively impacted Akbari, who carries the mindset of “continuing strong regardless of where the content is being delivered.”  

“[Graduation is] a bittersweet moment as I am excited to continue on in my academic endeavor, but I will miss seeing my friends I have made along the way,” said Akbari.  

Although the virtual graduation will take away from a first-time graduation experience for Akbari, he still remains positive about the online graduation.  

“It is great the school is still providing the graduates with a ceremony for everyone’s hard work and sacrifices,” said Akbari. 

For more information, visit MSJC’s graduation website