Southwestern College Reschedules 2020 Commencement; Virtual Ceremony on May 10

Southwestern College commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 have been rescheduled for August 22-23.  The college will also live-stream a virtual celebration marking the completion of academic programs for the graduating class on Sunday, May 10.

Upon announcing the postponement of in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 10, the commencement planning team at Southwestern College recently surveyed seniors and graduate students to better understand their preference for commencement exercises. Based on the survey participation the planning team developed a revised commencement schedule.

The virtual ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m., on Sunday, May 10.  This celebratory ceremony will mark the completion of academic programs for senior and graduate students. The virtual ceremony will include a conferral of degrees by Southwestern College President Brad Andrews and remarks from academic dean, Ross Peterson-Veatch. It will also include a brief address from Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, who is a 1994 Southwestern College graduate and is serving on the college’s board of trustees.

“While this celebration is not meant to replace our in-person commencement proceedings, it is aimed at marking and celebrating the many accomplishments of our graduates,” said President Brad Andrews.

Diplomas will be mailed to students following the virtual conferral of degrees on May 10.

The college is planning a traditional on-campus graduation ceremony for the weekend of August 22-23.  This is the weekend immediately following campus traditions, the Moundbuilding Ceremony and Opening Convocation.

“As the fall semester begins on campus, it is always an exciting and celebratory time,” said Andrews. “It seems like an appropriate moment to invite the Class of 2020 and graduate students back to campus to more fully celebrate their accomplishments at a formal commencement ceremony.”

College officials remain hopeful that they will be able to hold a typical graduate hooding and commencement ceremony where the Class of 2020 can gather and be recognized in Richard L. Jantz Stadium.

“We are asking that graduates and families reserve the full weekend in the event we may need to restrict the number of those gathering and schedule several smaller ceremonies throughout the weekend,” Andrews says.  “Of course, as new public health information emerges and as decisions are made, we will communicate with graduates and their families. We are working to balance our strong desire to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates while taking the necessary health safety precautions.”

With so many events being postponed to the fall, scheduling conflicts are also being anticipated for graduates.  Andrews says that graduates of the Class of 2020 are welcome to participate and walk as part of the May 2021 commencement exercises and will be recognized as members of the Class of 2020.

“I am so sorry that this semester, your last semester, has been so incredibly disrupted.” Andrews wrote in a letter to seniors and graduate students. “The date and format and logistics may have had to change, but there will be a day that I proudly hand each one of you your well-earned diploma.”

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