HAVILAND — The graduates of Barclay College were finally able to cross the stage and received their diplomas after COVID-19 delayed their commencement ceremony.


Although only half of the 2020 graduation class was able to come back to Haviland to participate in the special delayed ceremony Sunday, Oct. 4, it was a milestone some didn’t mind waiting to celebrate.


"It was a very special day because it celebrated our graduates and their calling. It was also a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit," said college president Royce Frazier. "Commissioning our students into a life that God is calling and crafting them to fulfill is always a moving moment."


Twenty-nine graduates returned to Haviland to celebrate the 102nd commencement for Barclay College, which will likely be known as the most untraditional ceremony ever. Masks were worn by all graduates, staff, faculty and audience members. Only graduates and members of the President’s Cabinet were on stage, sitting in an arrangement that allowed for social distancing. Traditionally, members of the faculty sit on stage with the graduates as well as a band, but not this year. Four speeches were given by members of the graduating class, and in true COVID-19 fashion, one was made via a prerecorded audio clip.


"It was really good to get some closure for my time at Barclay," said graduate Madi Schneider. "My senior year had such a crazy ending due to COVID-19. I was just happy to be able to celebrate all of our accomplishments."


Frazier noted how difficult it was to cancel graduation in May, saying that it is his favorite day of the academic year. He said he was thankful it was just delayed and not canceled this year.


Barclay College was established in 1917 and recently finished the accreditation process through the Higher Learning Commission. Associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees are offered both online and in person.