The University of Maine at Orono held an honorary commencement, or "Coronamencement", on March 13th for the graduating seniors.

According to the  Bangor Daily News, Sophia Palangas, a communications sciences student, organized the event with the help of fellow students Taylor Cray and Logan Aromando.

Local band, Midnight Breakfast played and speaches were given, including an emotional one from Robert Dana, Vice President for Student Life and U.M.O.'s Dean of Students. His speech was followed by U.M.O.'s all-women acapella group, UMaine Renaissance. Their performance of "Somebody to Love" brought the crowd to tears.

The unconventional ceremonies provided some closure for seniors who had a very unexpected departure from campus. Many of the U.M.O. grads were rocking homemade cardboard graduation caps.

A commencement wouldn't be the same without walking the stage for a diploma. U.M.O. grads received an adorable "fill in your name here" style diploma and then elbow bumped school mascot Bananas the Bear and Dean Dana.

My brilliant and handsome nephew, Caleb Bailey, was among the graduates.

This is his diploma. So stinkin' cute, right?


Social distancing wasn't a thing that day, but honestly, Orono is probably the safest place on the planet right now. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennobscot County.

There was a lot of gratitude toward the community expressed by the Orono students.

We wish each and every one of you the best of luck, and even though this was not the graduation that you had imagined, it's a story and memory that will bind you as a class. This is also a shared experience with graduating classes of 2020 all over the world who had their senior years end abruptly, and surrounded by uncertainty and some fear.

To U. Maine Orono's graduating class of 2020, you are to be commended for your creativity and positive attitude, two qualities that will carry you far. Well done.

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