TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some recent graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute say the prestigious college all but ignored them during commencement this past weekend by omitting their names during one of the most important moments of any graduation ceremony.
For 2021 RPI grad J.T. Adamec, of Rotterdam, it was a special day for his family to safely gather and watch the event live online.
“A lot of hard work and a lot of time went in and I was hoping to have my little moment of recognition,” says J.T.
But that moment never happened for the biology major as they tuned in to watch the four hour long ceremony.
“We were waiting, and they never really called my name. It’s like watching a movie waiting for a big payoff and my whole family was there and we were watching, and it just never happened, unfortunately.”
And he wasn’t alone. Other students who watched the ceremony online say their names were left out as well. Many of the disappointed grads took to social media app Reddit.
One student commenting, saying it was “incredibly insensitive” of RPI. Another commented that their parents, who live on the other side of the globe, tuned in at midnight only to be disappointed.
J.T.’s mom Julie Adamec told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that she felt bad for all the students who were left out.
“I feel their accomplishments and achievements were devalued. I am certain that wasn’t the intent, but that is the message that came across,” said Julie.
Virtual learners like J.T. say RPI actually requested that they send photos of themselves as well as the pronunciation of their names, which they all assumed would be read aloud during commencement.
The college sent NEWS10 a statement, which read in part: “All names of in-person attendees were read regardless of whether they were remote or on-campus learners.”
It was only graduates who chose to attend the commencement in-person that had their names read aloud. A spokesperson for the college added that it is consistent with many previous in-person commencement ceremonies.
As for J.T., he says he feels it is unfair to compare this year to last year’s and that the college could have handled it better by managing expectations.
In the meantime, he says he will use the whole thing as one more learning experience as he looks forward to receiving his diploma in the mail, and one day soon going on the earn his PhD in Neuroscience.