PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — University of Maine System seniors are getting their degrees during virtual ceremonies amid the pandemic.

The University of Southern Maine and Universities of Maine at Augusta, Fort Kent, Machias, Presque Isle and Farmington held virtual celebrations on Saturday to keep students and staff safe.

The University of Maine, the flagship campus, already held most of its commencement events.

UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy praised the Class of 2021 for showing persistence, flexibility and strength in the pandemic. “You’ve been tested in ways not experienced in the last century, requiring an unparalleled resilience to earn a college degree,” he said.

The Class of 2021 is 7% larger than last year despite the year-long disruptions caused by COVID-19.

All told, Maine’s public universities and the Maine School of Law are celebrating the graduation of 4,923 students.

The UMaine School of Law, Husson University, the University of New England and Bates, Bowdon and Colby colleges, will hold commencements later this month.

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