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Class of 2021 is honored with return of in-person ceremonies

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(KWWL) -- The University of Northern Iowa ('UNI'), Upper Iowa University ('UIU'), and Iowa State University ('ISU') held in-person graduation ceremonies once again on Saturday.

After the pandemic canceled in-person commencements last year, Saturday was a day many graduates at the college level thought would never come.

In Cedar Falls, UNI had over 1,200 students elected to attend their in-person graduation ceremony, and today Saturday was the second commencement, following one Friday evening.

Both commencements were held in the UNI Dome.

Graduates were allowed only six tickets this year for guests to keep with the CDC's guidelines for events on a large scale.

Over in Fayette on Saturday, UIU honored its graduating class with three separate in-person ceremonies as well.

UIU aligned with Fayette County's Public Health Department on safety protocols, allowing only four tickets per graduate, and required their guests to wear mask.

Left, Lindsay Rieck and to her right, Brooke Hartley

The three ceremonies were outdoors at the Harms-Eischeid Stadium.

"You know to watch your graduation in virtual, I mean, yeah you recognize that you graduate. But, you don't get that full sense that full sense of accomplishment," said one graduate, Brooke Hartley.

Hartley's fellow graduate, Lindsay Rieck, said, "I love the fact that Upper Iowa invited us to be able to walk this year in order to get that full experience and, you know be proud of the accomplishments that we've done."

There were about 1,050 students around the world graduating from Upper Iowa University.

Out of the total graduating students, 192 were form Fayette County, and all the graduates represented thirty five states and six countries.

Following the graduation ceremony, UIU announced they will plan to host fall in-person classes.

ISU also held their in-person graduation ceremony on Saturday.

Graduates were honored at Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum.

Graduates at ISU will be honored in a separate virtual ceremony next week.

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Dani Miskell

Weekend Anchor & Reporter

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