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Graduation postponed due to COVID-19

Editor’s note: The Signpost has changed publication date of the Graduation Issue with the list of the graduate’s names from April 10 to April 14.

Graduating Weber State University students who were planning to walk during Commencement on April 24 this year were notified on the evening of March 18 via an email from the President’s Office that the ceremony would be postponed until later in the year. The delay is part of an effort to protect the health of students and others in the community as the spread of COVID-19 remains a nationwide concern.

WSU announced they would be cancelling graduation on March 17 (Jennifer Greenlee)
WSU announced the postponement of its Spring 2020 graduation ceremony on March 18. (Jennifer Greenlee / The Signpost)

“Many of us consider commencement the most important event we hold on campus,” President Brad Mortensen wrote. “I know this news is disappointing to us all, but especially our students who were looking forward to celebrating this incredible milestone at the end of this semester. We know their families and loved ones share in the disappointment.”

The email stated that Commencement may be virtual if necessary, and students will be notified as soon as possible so the graduating seniors can be acknowledged for their accomplishments.

“I don’t want members of the Class of 2020 to miss out on this momentous occasion in their lives,” Mortensen said.

This news was hard to take for those who were planning on walking at the commencement ceremony, especially those who are also first generation graduates.

“As a first generation graduate student, hearing the news about Commencement was devastating, and now it just feels like it’s not going to happen,” Karen Valdez, a WSU senior, said.

Graduation and Commencement is usually a happy occasion for students and a huge milestone in their lives.

“I was looking forward to taking family pictures and saying goodbye to all the friends that I have made while being at Weber State,” Valdez said.

Valdez has an immediate and extended family who live in Arizona, and she was able to notify them about the postponement of Graduation.

Though many students may feel that Graduation is over and they won’t be able to celebrate, there are ways those in the Class of 2020 still can.

“Families should do something to honor their graduates, no matter where, how or when the ceremony occurs,” Allison Barlow Hess, public relations director, said.

Prior to Mortensen’s email, no news had been given out on the fate of WSU’s graduation ceremony, although other universities in Utah had postponed the event. These decisions follow the current guidelines set by the CDC.

“Once we went online and everything closed down, there was no news on Commencement; there was still that hope, and I never gave up,” Valdez said.

The Signpost will still publish a Graduation issue with the list of all the graduate’s names on April 14 although the ceremony is postponed.

Once grades have been submitted on April 28, the rest of the graduation process will continue as normal, excluding the ceremony. Diplomas will be mailed off when degrees are processed and grades are finalized.

Students can expect to receive their diplomas within around four days of April 28.

“Hope is what we can hold onto. I’ve accepted it, soaked it in, and I’m ready to move on,” Valdez said. “Living through something like this is quite the experience. When a milestone like Commencement is postponed, it’s devastating to have something you’ve worked so hard for taken away.”

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