OSU students reflect on pandemic experiences at commencement

Mathematics Ph.D graduate Ayer Ababneh receives her doctoral hood Sunday during Ohio State spring commencement at Ohio Stadium.

It was 65 degrees and cloudless Sunday as over 12,000 Ohio State University students packed into Ohio Stadium for commencement and reflected on an academic career marked by the global pandemic.

Justin Yancey, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business, said he was glad to graduate on such a beautiful day.

“This is amazing — the whole class had to deal with the pandemic,” Yancey said. “I don’t know if we lost the college experience because everyone graduating at this time was impacted, but I would definitely say we had a different experience than the one we expected.”

Finishing a degree at Ohio State through the COVID pandemic

In spring 2020, Ohio State University halted in-person instruction for the semester, sending students home and switching to online learning, like most other universities in the country.

The university reopened for on-campus activities in August 2020 (although with masking requirements and heavy restrictions on capacity limits for public gatherings).

Kaleb Parker, 22, who graduated with a degree in finance, said he felt like he ended his time at Ohio State with a meaningful senior year after a period of uncertainty with remote classes.

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