By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
HAMILTON, N.J. — Atlantic Cape Community College will hold a drive-through commencement ceremony for its graduating class of 2021 on Thursday, May 20.
The ceremony will allow graduates to participate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20 at the college’s Mays Landing campus. Members of the college’s Early College Program, who are high school students who got the chance to enroll in college courses early, will have their own ceremony honoring their achievements from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.
Atlantic Cape said that its plans to hold a drive-through commencement ceremony were made prior to Governor Phil Murphy’s announcement of loosened COVID-19 restrictions throughout New Jersey that will take effect on May 19. One of these changes was the elimination of an outdoor gathering capacity limit, which would allow colleges to hold commencement ceremonies at an outdoor location as long as guests maintained six feet of social distancing.
As part of the drive-through ceremony, however, students will be allowed to decorate their vehicles similar to the way they would decorate their caps as part of a traditional in-person commencement ceremony. More than 700 students are set to graduate from Atlantic Cape as part of its class of 2021, so sorting out the logistics of an in-person event would be difficult for the college.
The college will also hold a virtual commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on June 9. It also held a virtual commencement ceremony last year as the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off throughout the world.