USC Aiken prepares for socially-distanced graduation

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AIKEN, S.C. — The fall semester is coming to an end at USC Aiken, and it’s time for graduation. On Friday, 290 students will graduate from the university, including Kevin Logan Driggers, who’s graduating with a degree in finance.

“Everything throughout my life has been building toward getting a diploma from a college as esteemed as USC Aiken. It’ll be such a relief to get it done and move on to the next chapter.”

USC Aiken officials were unsure if they’d be able to host an in-person ceremony this fall. In May, they cancelled their commencement ceremony, leading some students to protest. They eventually chose to host a graduation parade instead.

Six months later, Dr. Daren Timmons, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, says the university is in a much better position to hold a traditional, in-person ceremony this week.

“We know more about COVID now,” Timmons said. Throughout the semester, we’ve had very low transmission and incidents of COVID in our population here. It feels like this was the right move for us.”

USC Aiken will follow health protocols. The ceremony will be held outdoors at Aiken High School, where graduates and guests can safely separate.

“We believe having it as an outdoor event with social distancing and proper guidelines, we can do that safely,” Timmons said.

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