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Class of 2020 celebrates graduation with drive-through parade, socially distant ceremony

AnnaSophia Clark, Westminster alum, and Tatiana Gomes, senior international business major, cheer on the graduates at the drive-by graduation Saturday. Despite the rainy weather, spectators continued to celebrate the event. (Rian Zetzer)

The class of 2020 gathered Saturday to celebrate their graduation with a drive-through celebration — four months after the original date. 

Professors and faculty members lined the Foster parking lot with signs, cheering as cars proceeded through the line. Graduates decked out in face masks and individually-designed graduation caps hopped out of cars to receive their diploma and take a picture with President Beth Dobkin.

Westminster College announced in March it would postpone its commencement ceremony, following guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to limit gatherings to 50 people.

However, the adapted graduation ceremony elicited varying opinions from graduates’ friends and families. 

“I’m very conflicted,” said Chad Lambourne, father of graduate Sean Lambourne. “I’m glad that the school is doing something. I wish they had planned it and communicated it a lot better.”

Chad Lambourne watched from the sidewalk while his son drove through the Foster parking lot in front of Converse Hall where the commencement took place.

Graduates drove through campus to receive their diplomas in socially distanced style. Cars were decorated with balloons and signs to celebrate the special occasion. (Rian Zetzer)

“I get why they’re doing it here but maybe they should have picked some place else where it wasn’t so tight,” Lambourne said.

Sean Lambourne’s stepmother, Melissa Lambourne, agreed — noting that while it was a special occasion, it felt distant in some ways.

“We can’t all be in the same car to be with Sean,” she said. “There’s a lot of factors, so you just can’t be too careful right now.”

Former classmates also attended the event, cheering on their friends from a distance. 

“I’m glad that they get a graduation,” said Kyra Teply, a senior at Westminster. “I know a lot of grads that haven’t, so I think it’s cool that they’re able to do this.”

The drive-through graduation was the last event of Westminster Weekend-ish — a weeklong celebration for alumni to reconnect with peers and former professors. 

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Rian Zetzer
Rian is a “super-senior” communication major graduating in December. When Rian is not on campus, you can find her skiing, hiking or biking in mountains with her trusty dog Ziggy. Rian hopes to combine her passion for the outdoors with her passion for content creation by working in the outdoor industry upon graduation.

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