Suffolk’s Graduation Events Will Be Held In-Person For the First Time in 3 Years

This year Suffolk will be holding its in-person graduation events for the first time since May of 2019. The faculty and students are excited as the spring semester is coming to an end.


Sofia Oakley

SCCC students are gearing up in their cap and gown for graduation on May 19, 2022. Herff Jones had supply chain issues this year, so some students’ caps, gowns and hoods were shipped later than planned. If you have not received your graduation essentials they will be to you by Thursday, May 12, as promised by the company.

As the spring semester is coming to an end, Suffolk County Community College will hold an in-person Honors Convocation event and a graduation ceremony since May of 2019. The graduation which will take place on Thursday, May 19, will be split into two separate times, 9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. The ceremony will take place rain or shine at the SCCC Brentwood campus. Within that invitation, graduates are able to invite four guests to attend.

“I am very excited and looking forward to presiding at my first graduation ceremonies at Suffolk. Everyone at the college is delighted that we can bring back a graduation ceremony that is always a memorable experience for students, and of course a centuries-old tradition for all colleges and universities,” said Edward T. Bonahue, SCCC’s new president.

For the graduation ceremony, all graduates are to report to the Brentwood campus an hour before their selected time. They are to meet at the back of the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena. During that time period, graduates will be lined up in loosely alphabetic order before entering the gymnasium. Each ceremony is said to be around an hour and 30 minutes. In addition, there is also a Suffolk graduates t-shirt and a bouquet of roses you can purchase before the ceremony. During the ceremony, specific students and the president will give keynote speeches. After that, the graduates will be able to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.

Besides the graduation ceremony being back in person for the first time since 2019, the 37th Annual Honors Convocation will be held too. This convocation is for students in the SCCC Honors Program and will be on Monday, May 16, at the Shea Theater in the Islip Arts Building. Invitations were mailed out and tickets should be picked up in Kathy Mccoy’s office in the South Hampton building once you RSVP.

“The Honors College began in 1985 and it graduated 11 students, this year we are just short of 160. The Convocation is a chance to celebrate all the Honors graduates and recognize all of their hard work,” said Kathy McCoy, a professional assistant at Suffolk.

At the Honors Convocation, graduates will walk across the stage and receive their Honors Medallion. The medallion is a medal and a ribbon that symbolizes all of the honoree’s hard work. Each student is allowed two guests to come to celebrate and cheer them on as they receive their medal. Within that invitation, there is a formal dress code for the event.

“During the Convocation, awards are given, the president speaks, there’s both an Honors faculty and student keynote speech, and the highlight is the receiving and draping of the Honors Medallion. Every Honors graduate gets to walk across the stage and have their Honors medallion draped. It’s as sweet a moment that you’ll ever find in higher education,” said Albin Cofone, a humanities professor.

For some students, these two events will be their first “normal” or in-person graduation. The high-school graduation classes of 2020 were stripped from the “typical” graduation due to Covid-19.

“In-person contact has been a tonic for our spirit, it’s what the Honors Program is all about. Nothing beats the face-to-face experience,” said Professor Cofone.

Each ceremony takes a team effort from the staff and faulty at all three campuses. They make sure everything runs smoothly and that everyone has a great time. It has been almost 2 years since the last in-person commencement ceremony at Suffolk.

“The commencement ceremony is run by a team of very talented staff and faculty. There is a commencement committee that includes student representatives from SGA, faculty representatives, and administration,” said Patricia Munsch, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

Covid-19 was a pandemic that nobody saw coming. Seniors whether they were graduating from high school or college were devastated. On March 25, 2019, all public schools in the U.S. shut down for a supposed two-week time period. Then on April 17, 2019, schools closed for the rest of the academic year and switched to virtual learning.

“Sure I didn’t have a normal graduation in high school but with college, it’s a bigger deal with all the choices and hard work I put into to get this degree, ” said Victoria Mienert, a speech pathologist major. It’s an award for getting through the hard bump in the road of life including covid-19.”