STANLY COUNTY — Stanly County’s two institutions of higher learning, Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College, both held graduation ceremonies this month, one using a drive-thru style and the other using multiple distanced and masked indoor ceremonies.
On May 6 and 7, SCC held drive-thru ceremonies for their students. Over the two days, 200 graduates received their diplomas outdoors at the Albemarle campus as friends, family and staff applauded.
“On behalf of our Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff, I would like to congratulate our graduating class of 2021,” said Dr. John Enamait, president of SCC, in a press release. “You made it, in what has to be one of the most trying years of any academic season. You persevered and you have reached your goals, congratulations.”
Pfeiffer University, on the other hand, who had their ceremonies May 13-16 after the state lifted more restrictions on gatherings, held their ceremonies indoors. The school required distancing and masking but was still able to have students together in the Merner Gymnasium at their main Misenheimer Campus and to walk across the stage to receive a diploma.
“In May and August of 2020, it definitely felt that something was missing. With COVID still being relatively new to us last Spring, we kept the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our operations and did not hold any commencement ceremonies,” Casey Habich, a spokesperson for Pfeiffer told SCJ in an email. “This Spring, as the commencement planning committee began to meet, we felt confident that we could provide a celebration of our students’ achievements in a safe way. With commencement being a pinnacle moment in a student’s college career, we all agreed that this was something we must provide for our 2020 graduates as well.”
Because of the distancing requirements, the school did have multiple ceremonies for graduates from multiple semesters going back to December 2019 graduates (who would have walked in May 2020) and for various majors.
“There was a tremendous response from our alumni who wanted to return to Pfeiffer to participate in a commencement ceremony,” Habich said. “Over the course of a few days, Pfeiffer hosted six commencement ceremonies celebrating our current graduates and those who would have walked in May and August of 2020. Pfeiffer University is extremely proud of our graduates and grateful we could celebrate with them safely in person.”