Cordier Auditorium will host the postponed Commencement ceremonies for Class of 2020 students on Oct 17.
Photo provided by MU

2020 Graduates to Return to Campus for Postponed Commencement 

Courtney Milzarek  

Students who missed out on Commencement last May due to it being postponed, can look forward to crossing the stage tomorrow. On Saturday, Oct. 17, there will be four commencement ceremonies held at Cordier Auditorium for 199 graduates with about 50 at each.

Because of the pandemic, there are many regulations and rules that have been put in place to ensure the safety of everyone who plans on attending. For example, social distancing and masks are required throughout the entire ceremony. On top of that, there are limitations on the amount of people the graduates can bring. Each graduate is allowed four guests and the ceremonies will be closed to the public.

There are going to be four different ceremonies because of the safety guidelines that are in place. For each event to be socially distant and the safest it can be, there is a limit to 50 graduates in each ceremony. There are going to be three undergraduate ceremonies and one graduate and professional ceremony. There will be no honorary degree provided at this time.

A lot of thought and planning has gone into deciding whether having an in-person ceremony is the best option during the pandemic. “After surveying the Class of 2020, it was clear that our graduates wanted an in-person celebration in 2020” says Julie Knuth, executive assistant in the President’s Office.

This date was chosen was because it was originally Fall Break weekend. As there are other times that the ceremonies could be held, weather was also considered when choosing the date. If the ceremonies were to be held in winter, they would then have to worry about issues with students and guests traveling during the possible chance of bad weather.

When planning the ceremonies, Knuth and her team conducted a lot of research to determine what would be the best option for in-person celebration. “This year has been full of challenges,” she says. “We spent hours and hours planning these ceremonies so we could keep our graduates and their families safe.”

Guest speakers are not going to be present during the ceremony. Instead, they have submitted recordings that will be played instead to help limit the amount of people who attend. The only in-person speakers who will be on stage will be President McFadden and Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman, vice president for Academic Affairs.