On Saturday, thousands of guests celebrated Auburn University’s Class of 2021 in a Jordan-Hare Stadium commencement ceremony, after last year’s spring graduation was postponed due to the pandemic.
Graduates and guests alike enjoyed a high temperature of 80 degrees on Saturday, a typical spring day during an atypical graduation.
Ebony Caver, a first-generation Auburn graduate from Mobile, is happy her friends and family got to see her walk.
“I had like 50 people out here supporting me,” said Caver, a kinesiology and exercise science graduate. “It was awesome.” Caver will continue her studies at Auburn in the fall, with a graduate program in exercise science before going to physical therapy school.
The university put on a mostly tradition graduation experience for its 3,522 undergraduate, 822 master’s and 403 doctoral degree applicants during a long commencement weekend that began Friday with graduate students and will conclude Monday with pharmacy and veterinarian school grads.
Undergraduate students entered and exited the stadium from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting with the College of Education’s ceremony at 8 a.m. and concluding with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at 4 p.m.
The Spring Class of 2021 represented 44 states and 43 countries.
T.J. Annerino, who earned a political science degree with minors in sociology and communications, says she’s thankful to be able to celebrate this moment.
“It’s really incredible just after everything we’ve been through this year with the pandemic, and then college is hard in general,” Annerino said, moments before walking across the stage. “Even being able to have a celebration is so important and special, and just seeing how many people made the sacrifices to travel all this way despite what’s going on.”
“It is really just so nice of Auburn to put this on for us,” Annerino added.
The university required graduates to wear face coverings while inside the Harbert Recruiting Center before the soon-to-be alumni waited in socially-distanced bleachers for their college or school’s ceremony.
Thousands of unlimited guests filled both the undergraduate section of Jordan-Hare and Pat Dye field. Many guests clumped around the orange parameters surrounding the ceremony stage, pointing cameras at the line of students to catch their graduate’s moment.
Deans offered brief, 5-minute remarks. The university livestreamed the event on its graduation page at auburn.edu/academic/provost/graduation/.
Deans handed graduates a copy of the Auburn Creed as Auburn Football stadium announcer Ric Smith announced each individual’s name as it appeared on the Jumbo-tron
“I’m a second-generation Auburn graduate, and it’s been great to be here in Jordan-Hare,” said Annaka Brewer, a public relations graduate from Mobile. “I graduated in three years, so I’m going to take a year off and travel before working in the travel and tourism industry.”
On Monday, the Harrison School of Pharmacy and College of Veterinary Medicine will be honored inside Auburn Arena at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
“What a great day to graduate,” said Naja Williams, a College of Agriculture graduate with a degree in animal sciences. “War Eagle!”