Baptist Universities Find Innovative Ways to Celebrate Graduates

On May 15, the Dallas Baptist University campus will be the site of a commencement parade, as cars drive along sidewalks lined with faculty and staff on hand to congratulate the class of 2020. DBU Photo

DALLAS (BP) — Zachary Funderburk was disappointed to have his graduation plans interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But for Funderburk and other spring graduates of Dallas Baptist University, the experience could turn out to be more memorable and unique than expected.

Instead of a typical graduation, Dallas Baptist has scheduled a drive-through commencement ceremony to honor its spring 2020 graduates.

With staff and faculty lining the streets of the campus, graduating seniors along with friends and family have been invited to drive through the parade May 15. Their names will be read aloud as they pass through. They’ll be showered with cheers and confetti cannons — and at the end of the line, they’ll receive their physical diplomas.

DBU President Adam Wright said he hopes the ceremony is an encouragement to graduates whose final semester was altered by the pandemic, with the campus shuttered and classes shifted abruptly online.

“It broke my heart to think about not being able to celebrate with our graduates this May, so we decided to hold this parade on campus,” Wright said. “Our prayer is that the students will not only feel loved and celebrated, but also challenged to go out into the world and serve and love others.”

Blake Killingsworth, DBU’s vice president for communications, said he expects approximately 300 of 600 graduates to participate and that the parade would allow families to celebrate together while maintaining appropriate social distance.

Jay Harley, DBU’s vice president for student affairs, said the feedback from students regarding the alternate ceremony has been strong and positive. And Funderburk, a Christian Leadership major, said he believes the graduation experience will be even more memorable than a typical ceremony.

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Source: Baptist Press