Forty animals will receive certificates in May 4 ceremony
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 27, 2021) – Senior students and their pets will begin the countdown to Commencement as furry, scaled or feathered companions receive recognition at the Ninth Annual Eckerd College Pet Graduation on Tuesday, May 4, from 5 to 6 p.m. at GO Pavilion, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.
This year’s ceremony, open only to the campus community, will confer certificates on 27 dogs, four cats, three reptiles, two gerbils, a rabbit, a guinea pig, a hedgehog and a turtle. As the first school in the nation to accept on-campus pets, Eckerd College is committed to honoring the animals that support our students, and that commitment extends to an annual ceremony where each pet gets to wear a cap, hear its name called and be walked across the stage to the cheers of fellow pet graduates and owners. Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students James Annarelli will read the pet names as Eckerd College President Damián Fernández (in his first official Commencement activity as the new College leader) presents the certificates and takes a photo with the pet and owner at the ceremony.
During the 2020–21 school year, Eckerd students registered 327 pets with the student-run Pet Life Council. Of the more than 1,800 students who attend the College, 17.5% live with their pets on campus.
More than 230 companions have “graduated” from Eckerd since the school began holding a separate ceremony in 2013. Eckerd College students can live in on-campus housing with one animal (dogs under 40 pounds, cats, rabbits, ferrets, ducks and chinchillas) or two small pets (fish, hamsters, gerbils, amphibians, nonvenomous reptiles under four feet long and small birds).