Another canceled graduation. What happens now?

Marisa Nelson

Graduation day is highly anticipated for students. Years of schooling, hard work and growth all come to fruition as they walk across the stage to accept their diploma.

This fall semester, commencement will not be held as originally planned for Weber State University graduates.

In an email sent out on Nov. 12, President Brad Mortensen expressed that convocation would be cancelled.

“As a proud Wildcat and first-generation student, I have been looking forward to walking at graduation for years,” said Kylee Treseder, WSUSA Service Team Chair and fall 2020 graduate. “I have experienced many mixed emotions with the cancellation of this semester’s commencement, including disappointment and frustration, but I fully understand the dire situation that we are all facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Treseder also said she is looking at the positives and knows that those who are close to her are proud of her accomplishments.

In the email announcing the graduation cancellation, Mortensen said “While the cancellation is necessary to help protect the health of our campus family and community, I don’t want members of the Class of 2020 to miss out on this momentous occasion in their lives.”

Mortensen said WSU looks forward to holding convocation in the spring, where all students will be able to celebrate their accomplishments.

Gabel Taylor, another fall semester graduate, said those who were involved to help plan graduation dropped the ball. He said graduates were left in the dark all semester, not knowing what to expect, and then received the news of the cancellation.

“With cases higher and higher everyday and ICUs full, it makes sense to cancel,” Taylor said. “I just feel like more could have been done to have the school celebrate all the work we have done by the graduates. Kind of like the rug got ripped out from under us.”

Allison Barlow Hess, director of public relations, said WSU is one of few universities in the state that holds a December commencement. Those who graduate this semester are still encouraged to order caps and gowns and will be honored in the spring.

Hess also mentioned that departments and colleges may hold their own virtual events.

David Ferro, dean of the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, said he feels this could be a good opportunity for the university to transition to one large ceremony in the spring.

Most universities in-state simply have one large graduation ceremony in the spring; the change would bring WSU more in line with other institutions.

Elizabeth Bizzell, outreach and grants coordinator for the College of Health Professionals, said they will create a webpage similar to the one they had last spring that will highlight graduates and faculty awards.

The college created a webpage to help honor graduates last spring when the ceremony was delayed due to coronavirus.

Julie Rich, interim dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said now that the president has made the official announcement, the college is beginning to plan recognition through social media and other activities.

Graduates may have mixed emotions about the ongoing cancellation of important milestones. But WSU deans and administrators are looking for creative ways to make graduates feel celebrated.