16:21 PM

Faculty distributes symbolic degree covers

South Texas College distributing via invitation only


Faculty with the Division of Math, Science, IT, and Bachelor Program were on hand Monday morning handing out bachelor degree covers curbside to graduating students. Staff with Student Activities will attempt to systematically distribute the covers to traditional graduates over the coming weeks.

South Texas College symbolically has begun distributing degree covers, as well as cap and gown, and yard signs to graduating students beginning with the Bachelor’s Program Monday morning.

Students are being contacted via INVITATION ONLY to come and pick up the degree covers commemorating their hard work, according to STC staff and faculty. The Office of Admissions and Records continues to review graduation applications and confer degrees, so graduates should expect to receive their diplomas in the mail by mid to late June.

“The challenge is, since we have close to 2,000 traditional graduates or so, we cannot have them come in at the same time, so it was easier to do the Bachelor program graduates first,” said Elibariki Nguma, Director of Student Activities and Wellness.

Dual Credit Programs has coordinated with partnering school districts to distribute degrees to their graduates.

“Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday) district wide we are going to start distributing degree (covers) to other students,” Nguma said. “We cannot invite everybody the same day so students will be notified when to come in through their STC email. Since we also have pantry operations at the same time, we need to organize everything accordingly.

Distribution is taking place concurrently at STC’s three campuses in Weslaco and Starr County as well as Pecan. Students are being asked via email invitation only to stop by and pick up their degree covers at scheduled times.

“Students need to get an invite to come to campus through email telling them when to come on a certain day to come and pick up their degree,” he said.

Faculty with STC’s Bachelor programs were on hand in full regalia on Monday morning to distribute degrees to students.

“We know that all of our students are always looking forward to this moment, to be able to walk and receive their diploma,” said Dr. Ali Esmaeili, Dean for Math, Science, IT, and Bachelor Programs. “We know this a dream come true for our students and unfortunately due to COVID-19, we still tried our best to make this celebratory for them as well as respect and honor them.

“We are hoping that by being here with our cap and gown and giving them their diploma cover that they at least feel comfortable with the fact that they achieved their goal,” Dr. Esmaeili said.

South Texas College still wants to plan a virtual commencement for graduating students by this summer. The college says that in the coming weeks, it plans to send information to students via email on how to submit personal photos and messages to be included in the ceremony.

Once those submissions are in, third-party company will include student photos on a web slide along with a personal message printed with the students’ name, degree, field of study, and honors.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to offer our students a virtual graduation ceremony and wish all graduates the best in their future endeavors,” said STC Registrar and Director of Student Records and Registrar Cindy Blanco.