The class of 2020’s commencement ceremony has been postponed to Saturday, August 8, due to the spread of COVID-19, according to an email by President Donald Taylor on March 27.
“As we follow guidelines on social distancing provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all on-campus events originally scheduled in the spring semester have been canceled, postponed or made virtual,” President Taylor said. “Although we were hoping this would not include Cabrini’s Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Exercises…we have made the difficult decision that these must be postponed to ensure everyone’s health and safety.”
Although commencement has been postponed, Cabrini will host a virtual conferral of degrees and celebration for the 2020 graduates on Sunday, May 17.
For the undergraduates, President Taylor will also announce the undergraduate awards that would have been announced at the honors convocation ceremony. Graduate students receiving their masters or doctorate will also be provided a virtual conferral later that day.
Other universities are following the same procedure of pushing back commencement or canceling the ceremony all together. Students urged Cabrini to postpone commencement due to the hard work students put in the past four years.
Due to concern of commencement cancellation, senior Victor Wisher created a petition to “postpone rather than cancel commencement.” The petition has received over 500 signatures since being posted on March 19.
“The downfall of this tragic crisis is the senior class of 2020 who are facing the possibility of the cancellation of commencement. This pandemic has the possibility of diminishing all the hard work and dedication that we all worked so hard for,” Wisher wrote on his page.
Students were relieved to find out that commencement is still scheduled. They hope the August date will remain the same.
“The students and faculty safety are more important than having it as planned. I am happy we are still having it,” senior Tom Ngo said.
“I was honestly bummed at first, but I know in the long run it’s better to put it off if that means all our loved ones can celebrate with us in person,” senior Grace Adams said. Adams mentioned that the key to promising an in-person ceremony is if everyone continues to practices social distancing.
The plan going forward is to give students close to what a normal commencement ceremony would be. Depending on social distancing mitigation procedures, alteration will be made. Senior Week and Commencement Kick-Off will not be held in person, however, SEaL is planning on a virtual senior week for May 11-17. Students should receive a FAQ sheet regarding commencement plans.
“It is very important for our students to have a live ceremony. Almost 40 percent of our undergrads are first generation students…we know how much that means to the student and parents,” President Taylor said via conference call on March 31.