West Virginia University announced Monday that in-person commencement will be held at Milan Puskar Stadium May 15 and 16 in four ceremonies, as opposed to the WVU Coliseum where it was held in previous years.
Masks and social distancing will be required and all participants must register to attend. Tickets will be required for admittance to all four ceremonies. Ticket information will be made available no later than April 19, according to the Office of the President.
“We hope to be able to communicate how ticketing will work in the next couple of weeks as we continue to work on maximizing the number of tickets per graduate,” said Lisa Martin, special events coordinator for the University.
Although some restrictions will be in place because of COVID-19, the celebrations will be no less memorable for those who walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Kevin Valyear, senior landscape architecture student, plans on attending commencement in person.
“I was happy to hear that the University was going through with the plans for having [commencement] in person. It’s a big event for my family to come up and have that moment,” Valyear said.
Some graduates however, do not plan on attending in-person commencement due to COVID-19 concerns.
Senior English and German studies student Georgia Beatty is choosing not to walk across the stage and attend graduation.
“I know they’re scaling back the number of people allowed at the graduation, but the principle of the idea of being in a big area with a bunch of people I don’t know I can’t really justify it, even though it is socially distanced,” Beatty said. “I just question to what degree the event will actually be safe, or if I will feel safe being there. If I went to a graduation ceremony, I would want it to be how I’ve always imagined it, and it just won’t be that way.”
The graduation ceremony will be different in many aspects, one including longer ceremonies with multiple colleges gathered at once.
The separation of the colleges was organized for specific social distancing precautions.
“The University health team advised us on how many people could be socially distanced in the stadium for one ceremony,” Martin said. “That number was then used as a guideline in pairing schools/colleges based on maximum possible participation of everyone from 2020 and May 2021 that would allow us to stay within the approved number per ceremony.”
The seating arrangements for families have not yet been finalized, but those details will be shared with graduates soon.
Graduates from May, August and December 2020 are also eligible to participate in the exercises and will have until May 9 to register to attend.
Find updates and additional details at graduation.wvu.edu in the coming weeks ahead.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, May 15
Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Reed College of Media
College of Creative Arts
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Sunday, May 16
College of Education and Human Services
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
College of Law
School of Dentistry
School of Medicine
School of Nursing
School of Pharmacy
School of Public Health
Correction: An earlier version of this story said there was a limit on the number of tickets students were able to get for the commencement ceremony. That figure was incorrect, and changes have been made to reflect that. Ticket information will be made available by April 19.