IAU’s Virtual Graduation & Completion Ceremonies: A Trailblazing Success amid COVID-19

by The Airwatch Board of Editors

Indiana Aerospace University (IAU) held their first-ever Joint University Virtual Graduation and Completion Ceremonies last October 24, 2020 at the Aerospacers Hall from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM which was streamed live at the IAU Facebook Page. The event was spearheaded by Dr. Jovenal B. Toring, IAU Founder and President, and Mdm. Celia Toring, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, together with Chief Executive Officer, Harold E. Toring; the Dean of all Colleges, Dr. Nonita P. Legaspi and Student Affairs Officer and Event Technical Director, Ms. Maria Luz G. Cahayagan. Also onboard were the basic education administration and faculty and the department chairs of the college who graced their presence physically at the venue. 

Secretary Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, the 36th Secretary of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines, was the honorary commencement speaker of the Joint University Virtual Graduation and Completion Ceremonies. Secretary Lorenzana underscored in his commencement message that the country is in need of patriots now more than ever as we transition to the new normal.  He urged IAU graduates to contribute to nation building and be imbued with the zeal of public service as they rise in rank from their chosen careers. He quipped that what matters is you (IAU Graduates) choose to do the greatest good for your country.

Event Technical Director and Students Affairs Officer Ms. Maria Luz G. Cahayagan was grateful for the success of the Virtual Graduation Ceremony stating it was the better alternative during these challenging times as the culmination of years of studies ended with a socially distant, online farewell.  She remarked, “Although this is certainly not the graduation I anticipated, it does not make this journey less meaningful.”

Expressing how he felt about the virtual graduation, Chief Executive Officer Harold E. Toring said, “Prior to the graduation, I was excited [for] it was the first time in IAU history to hold a virtual graduation. For 27 years we’ve been doing the graduation and completion ceremonies traditionally.” Sir Harold was a bit regretful as he believed the Administration could have sent them off with the IAU-brand of graduation rites where graduates and their parents received the diploma on stage; however, it could not be done due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, he felt relieved that the ceremony was one for the books.

The graduates also expressed how they felt with regard to the first-ever joint university virtual graduation and completion ceremonies. Jan Nicole Crencia, who majored Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) and who graduated with honors, said he felt happy because even if the world is still being ravaged by the pandemic, they were given the chance to graduate online and be recognized for their achievements. Another graduate in the person of May Hyacinth G. Gocotano, who finished Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering graduate with cum laude merit and being this year’s recipient of the leadership award, had this to say: “Honestly, it wasn’t the most ideal way of graduating especially for college students like us. You’ll get to experience graduation once in your life and having it virtually was a little bit sad. But considering the situation we are having right now, the virtual graduation was really the best option for us. And kudos to IAU for successfully organizing the first virtual graduation.”

It may not be the ideal or traditional way of conducting the graduation and completion ceremonies, the event was nevertheless a memorable one! Indeed, the adventure has just begun for the graduates and completers of the Class of 2020 of Indiana Aerospace University! May you heed what Henry David Thoreau said to “go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined!”