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UW Madison graduation in-person after year apart

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UW Graduation

MADISON (WKOW) -- Even though there were no spectators at Camp Randall, the Class of 2021 was still loud and proud on their graduation day.

"It's exciting for sure, you know, I feel like we all put a lot of hard work in and it was definitely different, but at this point, I don't want to say we're used to it but it's the new normal," Nathan Ng, one of the graduates, said.

While it was a different graduation experience than they were expecting, most said that they were at least happy to have an in person graduation after a year spent apart.

"I didn't think we were going to have an in-person graduation, so this is definitely a treat," Leah Kramer, another graduate, said. "It's nice to just see all the people you went to school with in person 'cause we've all been on Zoom for a full year and it's nice to get a reminder that 'Oh yeah, we all are classmates and we're all getting to do this together'."

Throughout the hour long ceremony, students sat on the field or in the stands, in their pods of close friends, socially distanced from other groups and all masked up.

But that didn't dampen their excitement.

"We're really lucky that we got anything with COVID, lucky we have the vaccine and we can be here, all just really privileged to be here in this moment, I don't know I've been crying all morning," Cora Likins, another graduate said.

And for parents outside, some former Badgers, it was a bittersweet moment, but they were happy their kids were able to have the same graduation experience they did.

"I kinda want to be in there, be down where they are but you know it's their day and I'm happy for them, enjoying the fact that they're vaccinated and they're in there and all of that," Kate Moen, one of the parents, said.

More than 7,600 students, from undergrad to graduate and doctoral students, got their degrees on Saturday.

For the noon ceremony, Camp Randall housed 5,100 people and was at around 6 percent capacity for safety and social distancing.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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