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Belmont holds virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020

Posted at 4:02 PM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-02 19:34:15-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Belmont University held their commencement live on YouTube Saturday morning, with families watching at home. Large public gatherings are still banned because of the Coronavirus, so university officials used this as an alternative.

Laura Privott and her family had big plans to celebrate, but had to cancel them because of COVID-19. The news of an online graduation ceremony initailly hit Laura pretty hard. "That’s just what you dream about. The day you get to wear your cap and gown and walk across the stage and shake [the university president's] hand. It’s a really big moment and to have it gone and be this different is really hard," said Privott.

She's also mindful, her family is one of the lucky ones. "We’re all healthy and my parents are still able to work. Being here with my sisters. That to me is totally okay," she said.

While a lot of the commencement ceremony was different, so much was still the same. "This is going to take awhile," joked Privott.

"It is my privilege to hereby confer upon each of you the degree in which you have earned," said Belmont University President Bob Fisher, during the live stream.

Instead of a walk across the stage, Laura's name and dozens of others scrolled across the screen. Of course, there's no replacing the real thing. That's why Belmont hopes to invite Spring graduates back to campus this fall for a redo ceremony. Laura says, she won't pass up a chance at a conventional commencement. "I will be walking so slow across that stage," Privott joked.

She says she'll also remember this day fondly. "I wouldn’t trade this either, getting to be here with my family and share this moment," she said. "No one else is going to be able to have this experience."

"Remember 2020? You graduated with the Coronavirus," joked Laura's mom, Amy Privott. Because what's a good family milestone without a memorable end?

Lipscomb University also held a virtual graduation ceremony Saturday morning. MTSU and TSU have decided to postpone their graduations until this Fall.

To watch Belmont's online graduation ceremony, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6KObFOl-ZU&feature=emb_title