Stratton and George grads

Recent Ohio University graduate Abby Stratton, like many other grads this year, did not have a Commencement ceremony. Her grandfather, Delmar George, also did not have a graduation ceremony - or any graduation pictures taken - because of campus' closure back in 1970. They're pictured here in front of the Alumni Gateway.

“When we announce your name, please walk across the driveway to receive your diploma!”

With college graduation ceremonies canceled across the country due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, recent Ohio University graduate Michael Kromer was surprised when his family up in Gahanna, Ohio, threw him a mini-Commencement ceremony in their driveway. Some relatives, family friends and neighbors also came by to watch (at a distance from one another). You can watch the video of Kromer's commencement ceremony here.

“I was absolutely shocked, and it was a truly amazing, unforgettable experience,” Kromer said. “Obviously I would have wanted to graduate like normal but this is, especially considering the circumstances, something I’m just absolutely never going to forget.”

Kromer and other newly minted Bobcat alumni have had to celebrate in their own way during the pandemic, with OU’s Commencement ceremonies being “postponed” (a date has not yet been chosen for the new ceremony).

Another unique OU story to come out of the pandemic is that of recent graduate Abby Stratton. Her family posted a picture on Facebook recently of her posing with her grandfather, Delmar George, in front of the Alumni Gateway.

George is himself an OU graduate (from 1970), but he also never got to walk in his Commencement ceremony because back in spring 1970, campus was shut down due to mass protests after the Kent State shooting incident of May 4. He also never got graduation pictures taken. So, the pictures feature him in a graduation gown along with Stratton.

“1970: Ohio University canceled graduation due to the riots,” the post by George’s daughter Brooke George-Stratton reads. “Then-college President (Claude) Sowle, closed campus. My Dad never walked for graduation. Never had grad pictures taken. 2017: Abby moved into Sowle Hall on campus. 2020: OU graduation is ‘postponed’ due to Covid-19. Today we celebrated what would have been Abby’s day to walk AND... my Dad finally had his grad picture taken.”

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