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FAMU graduates excited despite commencement moving indoors

Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 17:55:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A lot of changes happening for this year's commencement ceremonies at Florida A&M University. While some come due to COVID-19, others are due to severe storm threats to the Big Bend. Graduates told ABC 27 they don't mind which venue they cross the stage at, as long as it's in person.

"I need this, honestly," said FAMU Accounting Graduate Victor Love Jr. Love said, despite how tough learning through the pandemic has been, he's looking forward to crossing the stage in person instead of virtually.

"I literally pushed mine back so I could walk," said Love. "It's something I've worked so hard for. I deserve to walk."

Love's ceremony will be one of four happening this weekend. Each will be ticketed to keep track of guests. Florida A&M University is allowing grads to bring up to four family members to come to watch. Jamila Crowner Lee's family is coming to celebrate her Doctorate in Health and Sciences.

"My husband, my mom and my sister will be with me," said Crowner Lee.

All guests will be asked to mask up and stay socially distanced from other parties. The university moved locations to the Al Lawson Center after potential storms risked raining out Bragg Memorial Stadium.

"Everybody's really pretty excited about it," said Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum. "We actually opened up a second location for people who don't have tickets but still want to see the ceremony."

Crowner Lee said she doesn't mind the venue change, she feels it's better than online.

"I'm so grateful we have the opportunity to graduate in person because last year, everything was virtual," said Crowner Lee.

"FAMU put a lot of good guidelines in so that everyone can be safe to the best of their ability," said Love. "It's really, really important that graduates can walk."

FAMU will also be holding commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates later this summer. Those details have yet to be announced.