Each year, many of ECPI University’s online graduates travel to Virginia to participate in commencement, along with students from our Virginia Beach campus. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented this ceremony from taking place, but online leaders decided that the show must go on. So, they put together an online ceremony, complete with music, speakers, and presentation of degrees.
“We felt it was important that we not only honor our students’ accomplishment, but also provide an opportunity for their family, friends, associates, neighbors and co-workers, who have supported them, to join in on the celebration,” says ECPI University Vice President of eLearning and Online Education Aaron Wettstein. “This has certainly been no ordinary school year. By nature, online students are great multitaskers and highly adaptable, but the pressures of the pandemic have affected them just like everyone else. So, this is also a celebration of their perseverance.” Just ask graduation speaker Matthew Sewell about that. “As online students, we face greater challenges than most,” said Matthew. “We did not have set schedules. Most of us worked full-time jobs and supported families. None of this is easy, yet we added school to the mix? Are we crazy? Nah, of course not. We weren’t crazy…we were hungry, hungry for growth and advancement.”
Mr. Wettstein says it has been inspiring to see how the students have risen to the occasion to support their families, friends, fellow students, and communities during these unprecedented times while remaining committed to their educational goals. “This virtual ceremony also provided us a chance to thank all of our faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to make the online experience so meaningful for our students. We have received numerous emails, text messages, and phone calls from students who have told us wonderful stories of their positive experiences in the online classroom and in our virtual labs.” Here are what some of those graduates had to say:
“I want to thank ECPI University and its amazing staff for I now feel more confident in facing obstacles that will soon come in the business environment.”
– Cory McNair, Business Administration Graduate
“I would like to share a word of thanks to all the faculty that constantly reached out to ensure that I was staying on track. I am proud to be an alumnus of this great institution.”
– Matthew Sewell, MBA, Organizational Leadership
“I’d like to thank the many faculty members that helped and encouraged me along this journey.”
– Michael Black, Cyber and Network Security Graduate
“Today, I am honored to say that I am an ECPI Alum. Thank you to all the professors and staff of the CIS department for guiding me to excel.”
– Julia Waclawek, Master of Science in Cybersecurity
“ECPI was one of the best decisions I ever made, besides joining the military. Thank you for everything.”
– Timothy Ross, Electronics Engineering Technology Graduate
“I never realized my full potential until I enrolled at ECPI!”
– Tara Pagliarulo, Healthcare Administration Graduate
ECPI University faculty members and department heads were instrumental in effectively managing the challenges posed by COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, they were uniquely prepared to handle the situation because the University has been delivering education remotely for more than 15 years and has always sought innovative technologies to provide its students with the best online educational experience possible. Even when the pandemic ends, that philosophy will guide them as ECPI continually seeks to improve and evolve as an institution.