As These Go...Let Others Come

Thursday, June 11, 2020 – 2 p.m.

Commencement Speaker:

Rev. Dr. Clifford Jones, Pastor
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina

April 29, 2020

Dear Graduate,

I am pleased to announce several events we will hold in honor of your academic success, here at ABC. Our graduation events are a special time to celebrate you for your hard work, perseverance, tenacity, academic prowess, and your persistence to completion.

Please know it disturbs me greatly that we are unable to hold the 2020 graduation events in the traditional manner because of this novel coronavirus pandemic. However, your accomplishments will still be celebrated and uplifted. As I am sure you can understand, traditional ceremonies have been changed for personal health and safety purposes.

The 2020 Graduation ceremonies at American Baptist College will involve four planned activities that are distinctive and unique for these times:

1. A Virtual Graduation
Thursday, June 11, based on the ABC Campus

Through technology, graduates will be remote at their various home locations and participate in the unique ceremony. Some traditional speeches and presentations will be made, other activities will be remote with students. Students in Nashville will participate in a specially designed section of the program on the ABC campus.

2. Special Presidential Presentation at Graduates’ Home Churches
June ‚Äď August

Should social distance regulations be lifted, President Harris, along with designated staff, will visit the home churches of out-of-state graduates to celebrate with you and your family in your home environment.

3. Convocation Recognition
Fall, 2020

The 2020 graduates will also be recognized at the ABC Fall Convocation.

4. Special Recognition
May 2021 Graduation

Finally, there will be a combined celebration of the 2020 and 2021 graduates scheduled to take place in May 2021.

Please be advised that these plans are contingent upon the safety and health regulations mandated by State and Federal officials.

Given these unprecedented experiences, which takes away our time-honored traditional graduation activities, it is important to us at ABC to honor our graduates in special ways. I want you to know how important your academic success is and how delighted we are to recognize you and your achievements as you become stronger leaders in the world.

In our virtual ceremony on June 11, we want you to be appropriately attired in academic regalia to make the event real in all of our hearts and minds. Furthermore, your diploma will be as meaningful and significant as any other. You will reflect on these events in years to come and say, ‚ÄúI graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am proud to have finished strong.‚ÄĚ

Congratulations to each of you and may God continue to bless you mightily.

Forrest E. Harris, Sr.


Questions and Answers about Graduation Activities

June 2 & 11, 2020

Video Taping on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 4 p.m.

Circle of Love at the Arch and the Ceremonial Walk from Griggs Hall to the McClure Library.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Virtual Graduation, 2 p.m. Zoom


Who:* Organizer

1. Question- what are the activities associated with the ABC Graduation

Answer: There will be a taping on Tuesday, June 2, at 4 p.m. to be included in the virtual graduation taking place on Thursday, June 11 at 2 p.m.

2. Question: What should I wear to the taping?

Answer: Graduates will be given their caps and gowns to participate in the event.

3. Question: Will academic officers participate in this taping?

Answer: Academic officers, faculty and staff are invited to participate in this event.

4. Question: If students have a balance may they participate in any graduation events?

Answer: If a student has a balance, that student is not allowed to participate in any graduation

activities until the balance is cleared.

5. Question: What procedures will be taken for safety and health concerns?

Answer: This event will follow all procedures the campus has utilized since protocols have been set in March. As outlined in earlier directives and protocol procedures, masks and gloves are required and all participants will stay 6 feet apart.

Special Note: If any administrator, faculty member, staff or student feels uncomfortable participating in this event, please know your presence is not required for this taping.

Your cooperation is appreciated, however it is not REQUIRED.

6. Question: What students are allowed to participate in this taping?

Answer: Alumni who just graduated from Vanderbilt are allowed to participate in the taping, if so desired.

7. Question: What will happen with the Circle of Love?

Answer: Participants will make a circle (using social distancing) around the Arch.

The photographer will video this circle, which will be a symbolism of love all have for ABC.

8. Question: What will happen during the ceremonial march?

Answer: Participants will walk from Griggs Hall, down the sidewalk and under the Arch, then walk across the campus to McClure Library for pictorial purposes. Once the photographer and videographer have captured these events on video, the session ends. There may be a few stand- alone pictures we may need. They will be identified at the session.

9. Question: What is the Zoom virtual graduation?

Answer: The virtual graduation allows for all participants to be involved via your electronic device (phone ipad, computer). All communication will be through the social media and Zoom account. We will not be face-to-face. We will be together electronically. It is very similar to our Town Hall Meetings.

10. Question: what will happen at this event?

Answer: The taping that is done on Tuesday, June 2, will open the ceremony. All participating graduates will be in a remote location and log in on their respective computers. There will be no graduates on campus.

11. Question: Will there be anyone on campus for the event?

Answer: Yes, the president, vice presidents and Registrar will be on campus for the Ceremony, along with some assigned staff. Social distancing will be adhered to with

no exception.

12. Question: How will the program be structured?

Answer: The program will follow its traditional format, only remotely. There will be a speaker, Rev. Clifford Jones and two student speakers. We also have the veteran’s
recognition. Furthermore, the Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Strategy and Academics will carry out their duties of Presiding Officer and recognizing the students.

The Registrar will provide the list of names for the Academic Officer and each graduate will be recognized and wave when their name is called.

13. Question: When will a student receive her/his diploma?

Answer: Diplomas will be mailed to all students after the ceremony. Also, students in the Nashville area, may make arrangements with the Registrar to pick up their diplomas.

14. Question: When will I get the Zoom address and other log-in information to participate in the graduation event?

Answer: The log-on information will be sent by Friday, which will include all social media outlets.

15. Question: May students come to the campus on graduation and bring family and friends.

Answer: For safety purposes, graduates, family and friends are asked not to come on campus, so that we can protect all campus visitors and keep everyone in a safe situation and follow the guidelines of the CDC.

16. Question: Will there be refreshments served at the graduation events?

Answer: There will be no food served at the graduation events. Only required staff will be on site for a limited time.

17. Question: I have additional questions, who can help me?

Answer: If you have additional questions, please contact the Registrar, Mrs. Ciara Smith, or (615) 687-6896.

18. Question: Should faculty/staff wear academic regalia from their Zoom locations.

Answer: It would be an honor for ABC faculty and staff to wear academic regalia in an effort to support the students.