Universities, colleges cancel graduation ceremonies amid pandemic
Public, private and community colleges have canceled commencements.
The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has canceled 2020 graduation ceremonies at all 23 state community colleges in light of federal guidance urging people to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced in a letter Tuesday.
“While it’s a celebration of individual achievements, it’s a community celebration. Many of the same family members who travel far and wide to attend are at particularly high risk with this virus. And the hugs and high-fives that come naturally to so many of us in that moment fly in the face of the social distancing practices we are asked to observe,” he says.
New commencement dates have not been announced. DuBois said they will occur “in a manner that is safer for all concerned.”
VCCS has canceled other events including its state board meeting in Martinsville, the New Horizons conference in Roanoke and other professional development events across the state.
The University of Virginia canceled its graduation ceremony “Final Exercises,” the university announced late Tuesday night.
“A team is already focused on developing creative alternatives to mark this important occasion, and we will communicate updates as we have them,” the university said in a statement.
The University of Richmond announced late Monday that it has also canceled its 2020 commencement ceremony, which was scheduled for May 10, until further notice.
“Hear me when I say that I and other University leaders will do everything we can to reunite you on campus and celebrate your many accomplishments and your unique place in university history as soon as we can,” University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher wrote in a letter to the UR community. “We will be in touch directly with information as plans develop.”
Bridgewater College has canceled all spring semester events, including commencement, college President David W. Bushman said in a statement late Monday.
“Pending changes to current CDC guidance, commencement could be held remotely or later in the summer,” he said. “We will provide updates as appropriate.”
George Mason University said that its commencement will be postponed by at least one week and will not be held as scheduled on May 15. An official reschedule date has not been announced.
James Madison University has not canceled its commencement, but it has canceled its “Grad Fair,” when students typically obtain graduation regalia, order graduation announcements and purchase class rings.
The ceremonies are currently scheduled for May 16 and May 17, but the university says more information will be communicated at a later date regarding the events.
“Suffice to say, 2020 will not be the year for which any of us were hoping or expecting,” DuBois said.