In-person graduation returned to the University of South Carolina this weekend, with some adjustments for safety.

The university moved its commencement to Williams-Brice Stadium from its usual home at Colonial Life Arena, and split the usual single ceremony into three to allow social distancing.

The first ceremony took place Friday evening, with a second Saturday morning and the third Saturday at 6 p.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster addressed the Friday evening graduates after being presented with an honorary degree. U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs received an honorary degree Saturday morning and served as Saturday evening’s commencement speaker.

“These challenges have forced you to prevail over adversity,” Childs told the graduates, referring to the pandemic as well as their individual challenges. She advised them to help others as they have been helped. “Extend your arm and elevate others. No one has gotten anywhere alone.”

More than 5,700 students received their degrees in the ceremonies. An in-person recognition ceremony is scheduled for May 15 to honor the Class of 2020 after last May’s ceremony was changed to a virtual event because of COVID-19.

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