Socially Distant Senior Pinning


Students sit, socially distanced, on Daly Field for the pinning ceremony.

Delaney Sullivan, Staff Writer

Senior Pinning took place Thursday, September 24 on Daly Field at North Campus. Senior Pinning is an annual occurrence at Averett University and gives senior students a chance to have a faculty or staff member pin them. 

Students pick a faculty or staff member who has influenced them during their time at Averett. Professors, advisors, and administrators are among some of the members who pin.

In the past, those who pinned actually placed the pin on the student, but this year was different, as so many things are. As the seniors were announced by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success Dr. Timothy Fulop, he also called out the name of the faculty or staff member who the student chose to pin them. The pinner stood as the student walked to the front of the field to receive the pin from Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks. 

Antoinette Gazda, assistant professor in the department of language, literature and culture coordinator, African and African American studies, says that her favorite part of the annual event is “sharing the experience communally with all of the students, faculty, and staff who are in attendance. It is indeed a high honor to pin, or in last week’s case, stand up for, a student who has singled me out as an influential part of his or her Averett experience. It is a special moment; one I’ll always remember. And I also find it moving to see other students I’ve known over the past four years in the room, and be there with my faculty colleagues and staff members in comaraderie. The entire event is uplifting.” 

Senior Kara Oaks, psychology major, decided to get pinned by Psychology Professor Katlin Hecox. 

“She was one of my favorite professors and I could always tell how much she cared for all of her students,” Oaks said. 

Pinning was different from years past, as it had to follow COVID safety guidelines. Socially distanced seats for students and those who were there to watch the event were marked to help the community stay safe, and everyone in attendance wore a mask. The honorees, those pinning the seniors, did not get to actually pin students this year. Gazda said that having Senior Pinning on Daly Field lessened the sting of having to be socially distanced. 

Jon Stephens, a senior music performance and religion double major, said, “I thought the ceremony was good. I think the way we had to do it was the best possible approach, and it was a very impactful ceremony nonetheless.” 

The event took about an hour and the only downside, Oaks says, was a little drizzle, but students, faculty, staff, and attendees were prepared with umbrellas. 

Gazda concluded, “The significance of getting pinned, or pinning someone else, is one of belonging…The act demonstrates that we are part of a fellowship of believers in the larger concept of acquiring and valuing knowledge. It also signifies that we went through a thing or two together and I hope, that we commit to being lifelong learners, all.”