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For real this time: 2020 grads return to campus for official graduation

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Haley Crenshaw technically graduated from OSU in July 2020 with a degree in animal biotechnology.

But when she makes the trip from Houston, Texas, to OSU’s graduation this weekend, she’s not coming as a spectator. 

She’s finally making her trip across the stage.

“I just felt like I was owed it, you know?” Crenshaw said. 

Crenshaw is one of many OSU graduating seniors from the spring 2020 and fall 2020 semesters that did not get to have an in-person graduation ceremony. Some students will not return to be a part of the ceremony, but many are going to great lengths to be recognized for graduating.

Another student coming from out of the state is Hanna Hampton, who graduated in May of 2020 with a degree in economics with a focus pre-law. She will be driving over seven hours from San Antonio, Texas, to walk. 

Hampton said getting a degree is a representation of the invaluable source of education, She said her education is something she will be able to rely on and said graduation is to not only honor her accomplishments but honors the people who matter most to her.

“It’s closure, it’s a celebration, it’s a new beginning of the rest of your life,” Hampton said.

Hampton said she was upset because she opened her certificate in the mail and hung it up. That was it. Hampton said she does not know why graduation could not be delayed until August of 2020 and held in Boone Pickens, where graduation is scheduled to be this spring semester. 

“I’m extremely excited to get to walk now,” Hampton said. “I was very frustrated, although I do get the sense of responsibility of having to keep everyone and their families safe during COVID.”

Hampton is not the only graduate from the 2020 spring semester to return. Jenifer Lopez graduated in May of 2020 and received a degree in strategic communications. She is traveling from Moore, Oklahoma, to have her moment and experience closure.

“I had to make sure I was able to come back,” Lopez said.

Lopez said having the coronavirus pandemic block her from walking across the stage was  hard but is incredibly thankful for the ability to come back and celebrate. Lopez said OSU holding an in-person graduation is just a testament to the vaccines and things like mask-wearing. Having the degree is an accomplishment, but Lopez said attending college is an asset.

“Not everyone gets the opportunity to go to college and I was really fortunate to and so to have this degree, I worked really hard for, it just means a lot,” Lopez said.

news.ed@ocolly.com