EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) May 16 and 17 were the days UTEP graduates had planned to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.
The ceremony has been rescheduled for September 12 at the Sun Bowl Stadium, but that didn’t stop graduates from donning their caps and gowns for their graduation milestone photos Saturday.
One of those graduates is Jonathan Cedillo. Cedillo is graduating with his Bachelors’s Degree in Biological Sciences.
While Cedillo says he is appreciative that the UTEP still plans to hold graduation later in the year, he might not be able to attend.
“The thing is I don’t know if I’m going to be here in El Paso still because I already applied for so many jobs in Washington, California, Colorado. You know, next week I might be in Washington, and I’m not going to be able to make it,” said Jonathan Cedillo.
El Paso area school districts are evaluating how to move forward with graduation, and many are using a hybrid digital graduation with the option of outdoor stadium graduation later in the summer.
UTEP President Heather Wilson says the UT System made the decision that there would be no commencements this Spring, and they would be moved to the Fall.
“We looked at what would be the best dates particularly given the weather, and we think that an evening in September looks likely to be pretty good in El Paso,” Heather Wilson President of UTEP.
President Wilson added that students returning to campus in the fall is not a question of “whether” they will or not, but “how.”
“We want to do it safely, and we will continue to monitor the course of the disease, but we think it will probably be a mixture of some in-person classes some distance enabled classes and some that are both,” said Wilson.
UTEP grad Randi Santaella says knowing undergraduates will return in the fall is nerve-racking, but she knows they will figure it out.
“I think they’re ready to come back, I think they are nervous to come back you know it’s mixed feelings,” said Santaella. “But they’ll have to figure it out; it’s a priority.”