2021 graduation

Saturday the University of Montana was able to hold an in-person graduation ceremony, something many students weren't expecting at the beginning of the year. 

"Ladies and gentlemen the class of 2020 and 2021," UM President Seth Bodnar announced over the loud speakers of Washington Grizzly Stadium on Saturday.

The University of Montana celebrated over 4,000 students who graduated over the last two years. Unlike last year over one thousand students were given the opportunity to walk

"It was incredible I was so thankful to have my family there and incredible that I can graduate with my class," 2021 graduate Lyndee Nikkila said.

But that wasn't always Nikkila's expectation. Back at the start of the semester she was skeptical of what her graduation would look like.

"Honestly I wasn't expecting to walk at the beginning, it was very back and forth with the university and with the communication with the seniors if we would have a ceremony or not and in January it really wasn't looking like it," Nikkila said.

But after a year of quarantine, no spring break, and a lot of flexibility Nikkila was overjoyed her family was able to support her on her big day.

"They were shouting so loud I could hear them all the way across the stadium," Nikkila said.

Every graduate was allowed eight guests, masks were required, and social distancing was enforced. Even though it didn't look like ceremonies of past years Nikkila says she wouldn't trade it for anything.

"While we couldn't shake hands there was still that level of formality that each person got to experience,"Nikkila said.

The spring graduation ceremony is was the largest event the Missoula City-County Health Department has allowed in over a year.

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