Middle Tennessee State University welcomed graduates to cross the stage on campus last weekend during a series of 10 commencement ceremonies.

The university awarded nearly 2,500 degrees to graduates over the three-day period.

The 2021 graduation classes — as well as 2020 graduates whose opportunity for an in-person event was delayed last year by COVID-19 concerns — walked into Murphy Center in small groups this year. The graduates’ seats were spaced for social distancing, and everyone inside the building was required to wear a mask for health protocols.

The university also limited the number of guests who could attend each hour-long ceremony.

The comeback to in-person ceremonies was a big shift from last spring’s first ever completely virtual event. Graduates and their families weren’t able to congregate in Murphy Center, but instead they watched their names and achievements vertically scroll during the live streamed event.

The spring graduating class had 2,488 students, including 287 graduates who were receiving a master’s degree.

May 8 will be the official graduation date listed on all diplomas, which will be mailed to graduates beginning May 24, according to the university.

This year’s graduates received acknowledgement from either University President Sidney A. McPhee or University Provost Mark Byrnes for their endurance and determination to push past the pandemic to finish the academic year strong.

“I always say that our graduation ceremonies are the most significant events in the life of our university. These ceremonies, under these conditions and precautions, are even more significant,” McPhee told the students and audience, according to an MTSU news release.

MTSU will begin its summer 2021 semester on Monday, May 17. The semester will continue as a mix of remote-learning, online, in-person and hybrid courses. The university plans to resume mostly in-person courses and activities for the fall 2021 semester, which begins Monday, Aug. 23.