Pre-Recorded Graduation Ceremony – Take Two

Story by Angela Harrington

Photos by CNM Chronicle

Staff Reporter

This year’s CNM graduation ceremony, scheduled for May 1st at 12 noon, will be virtual again, according to CNM Dean of Students, Chris Cavazos.

“A lot of factors played into the decision to go virtual” said Cavazos.

Cavazos said that the decision to hold a virtual ceremony had to be made in advance due to the need to procure vendors and the venue.

He said that normally they use Tingley Coliseum or Expo New Mexico to hold in-person ceremonies, but due to the pandemic these venues were not an option.

“Obviously we didn’t expect to be doing another virtual ceremony a year later. Last year was kind of a spur of the moment, let’s put something together and go for it [situation]” he said.

Due to timelines and the need for planning, the decision to remain virtual was made in late February, and confirmed in the middle of March, according to Cavazos.

“We are aware of other schools, especially APS, who are holding in-person ceremonies; but we had already at that point decided to do virtual for planning purposes” he said.

There is still some chance for an in-person drive-through recognition celebration, on the same day as the virtual ceremony, said Cavazos.

The proposed celebration may consist of a drive-through diploma pick-up in front of the Student Services Center, according to Cavazos.

He said, “The celebration that we’re hoping to plan is going to be more about fun and recognition. Kind of like when you walk out of the ceremony and you start cheering and clapping. That’s what the celebration piece will be.”

It may be a chance for graduating students to put on the cap and gown, if they choose to, and celebrate at a distance, according to Cavazos.

He said that this has not been fully approved yet but that he hopes to have a decision and final details pertaining to this in the next week or so.

Cavazos said, “Cap and gown are not required for the virtual ceremony. However, graduation items are available to purchase through Jostens.”

What is for certain though, is that the virtual graduation ceremony will be available to family and friends from anywhere in the world, by attending online, according to Cavazos.

“There are some pluses, some positives, to a virtual ceremony” Cavazos said.

Cavazos encourages graduates to participate in the virtual ceremony. If a student believes that they are eligible to participate, but they have not received an email with instructions, please contact the Student Activities office or email

According to Cavazos there are some deadlines for signing up. To have your name appear in the program, you must sign up by April 9th. To be part of the recording and have your name read out loud, the deadline is April 16th.

“I would definitely encourage participation, although it’s not as ideal as an in-person ceremony, such as previous graduates and future graduates will be able to experience” said Cavazos.

Students have earned the opportunity to participate in a ceremony and it’s their day, he said.

“Everyone is going to remember this time forever. So why not say, I graduated during a pandemic? That makes it an even bigger accomplishment, if you ask me” Cavazos said.

He said that the school wants the students to be recognized for their accomplishments.

“CNM is doing the best we can with what’s available now and what we’re allowed, to make it a memorable day” stated Cavazos.

Additional information about the proposed accompanying drive-through celebration will be made available as soon as the decision is finalized, said Cavazos.

He said, “For all our students, graduating or not, just to be successful in their education during this time of crisis, is really something to recognize and be proud of.” The Chronicle will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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