NAU students celebrate graduation virtually amid COVID-19 pandemic

With graduation ceremonies cancelled in Arizona and across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions have quickly put together virtual ceremonies.

One of the educational institutions that have done such as thing is Northern Arizona University, with several thousand students getting their diploma virtually.

Jazlee Crowley is among one of those NAU seniors. She graduated on Friday with a degree in biology.

"It’s just definitely not the kind of culmination I envisioned at all," said Crowley.

Crowley has always dreamt of the moment she would walk across the stage at NAU, but those dreams were dashed due to COVID-19.

"It was just a lack of closure," said Crowley. "I don’t know if I needed that walking across the stage moment, pay a fortune for a gown and cap moment, but I think that having the option taken away is a little funny, definitely."

NAU's President, Rita Cheng, led the ceremony. Crowley watched it all on her laptop at  home.

"She was, like, I know that everyone is sitting in front of their computers without a graduation outfit on, but we can symbolically move the tassel and that was the eeriest moment for me," said Crowley.

Crowley thought her graduation would be about family, as both her parents graduated from NAU in the 1990s.

"One thing I did envision that I always wanted to do, and really what I envisioned is that I have these graduation photos of my parents, and I was going to recreate those with my cap and gown and create a tradition through that," said Crowley.

However, Crowley says she’s is looking at the positive.

"I think it's really interesting being a part of one of the first group of people who has ever experienced the world in this way," said Crowley.

Crowley's family wants to celebrate this big achievement, so they are planning to do a mock graduation ceremony at home.

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