College of The Albemarle celebrates Dare graduates

Published 9:54 am Sunday, June 7, 2020

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On June 2, the College of The Albemarle celebrated its Dare County students with a drive-through ceremony at the Russell Twiford campus location.

Students that were set to graduate this spring semester were invited to attend, along with their family members. Each graduate that “drove-through” received a diploma, gift bag with COA items and alumni association information, and a sign for their yard.

COA faculty and staff lined the sidewalks and parking lot outside the campus building with signs, clappers, balloons and smiles as graduates pulled up in their vehicles and were guided out of their cars to COA President Dr. Jack Bagwell.

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Bagwell congratulated students and handed each their diploma before they were brought to a COA backdrop where each had a photo taken with diploma in hand.

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Some students opted to have their photo also taken with COA mascot Finn before heading back to their vehicles and driving away to the sound of loud cheers and applause from the gathered crowd.

Tim Sweeney, dean of COA Dare, said there were 46 graduates being recognized on Tuesday. The celebration was postponed due to weather, but a large majority of the students still made it out for the event.

Bagwell commented that this was the third celebration for COA, with two taking place in Elizabeth City prior to Dare’s. “We call this our celebration because we couldn’t have our traditional ceremony, so we’ve been differentiating that way,” Bagwell said.

Nonetheless, Bagwell said it’s been “fantastic.” “In a way, it’s been really kinda great because people have been able to bring family members up close,” he said.

The president noted that he had seen grandparents in the back seat of vehicles with their graduates, and parents had teared up upon seeing their child receive their diploma while the crowd exploded in cheers and applause.

Another ceremony is still planned to take place on July 30. “We hope to bring folks back in July and do something that’s a little more traditional,” Bagwell said. Restrictions from the governor’s office will determine whether the function can take place.

“At least we could celebrate the graduates,” Bagwell said, “even if we can’t do something formal like we normally do.”



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