June was a busy month for the Office of the Registrar’s graduation unit.
Spring graduates normally receive their parchments in-person at a spring convocation ceremony, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial’s spring 2020 convocation was postponed and all spring 2020 parchments were mailed to graduates.
On May 28 an in-absentia convocation was held during a Senate executive meeting to ensure that graduating students were awarded their degrees, diplomas and certificates in a timely manner. As a result, the process was much more involved than usual for the registrar’s office.
After the in-absentia convocation, the registrar staff members began mailing out approximately 2,100 graduation parchments. Since offices were closed, there wasn’t an option for students to come on campus to pick them up.
While the process wasn’t new, it was largely modified.
“Preparing mailouts for all graduating students was an enormous amount of work,” said Judy Jewison, assistant registrar (graduation), Office of the Registrar. “While we went through the same steps with the mail out of parchments, the volume was much greater this time, and with some challenges.
“Limited staff, limited access to campus, incomplete or incorrect addresses provided by students, and delays with postal services proved to be challenging,” she added.
However, staggering work hours and practising social distancing kept staff safe throughout the process.
‘Eager and efficient’
Ms. Jewison and her colleague, Jeanie Dalton, oversaw the work. This included receiving the parchments from Printing Services, sealing of all the degree parchments, generating address labels for mailers and the subsequent assembly of packages. Two additional staff assisted with sealing and assembly.
Included in each package were the student’s graduation parchment, a congratulatory letter from Memorial’s president, Dr. Vianne Timmons, and a postcard from Alumni Engagement.
Ms. Jewison says she is pleased with how the process went.
“Everyone was eager and efficient, so overall, the process went very well.”
“While it wasn’t the graduation that students had anticipated this year, I am impressed that our staff was able to come together safely and deliver parchments in a timely manner so that our new graduates can move on to the next chapter of their lives,” said Tom Nault, university registrar and secretary to Senate.