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'It's still a good celebration. It's just different': University of Portland moves commencement online

More than a thousand undergraduate and graduate students received degrees Sunday, but due to COVID-19, every ceremony was online only.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Graduation at the University of Portland had a much different feel this year. Because of the pandemic, it was a virtual affair.

More than a thousand students got their undergraduate and graduate degrees Sunday. But for the first time, every student watched the ceremonies on their screens, in accordance with Oregon's stay-at-home order.

“There's still a real sense of personal fulfillment that comes with making this milestone. I don't think anyone in my class would let the virus and the precautions take away from that,” said Nick Owen, outgoing student president. Owen received degrees in biology and political science Sunday.

Sarah Varney, Leah Sichel, Samantha Hull and Sylvie Lamharzi, who share a house across the street from the university, graduated together on Sunday. 

They did their best to celebrate the accomplishment as a group of four.

"We got in our caps and gowns and we've been walking down Willamette Boulevard. Everybody's honking at us and cheering," said Sichel, who majored in nursing. "It's still a good celebration. It's just different.”

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