Pacific University cancels May commencement, virtual graduation
Pacific University will not hold its annual commencement this year, as efforts continue to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a message by Pacific University President Lesley Hallick on March 19, the university announced it will not hold the traditional May commencement ceremonies and will continue transitioning to online courses for the remainder of the spring semester. It is also possible that the school will have to cancel its August commencement.
"Everything about this situation is heartbreaking, and we are not making any decisions lightly," said Hallick. "This is a time of great stress and uncertainty, and I thank all of our employees for their dedication to students, as well as our students and families for their trust and patience."
Hallick added that the ceremonies would simply put too many people in close proximity to one another.
"We will, however, celebrate our graduates in innovative ways both this spring and in the future," she said. "We are already planning a virtual graduation ceremony, and we invite students who plan to graduate in May to complete (a) form — share your photo, your guest list, and your latest contact information so we can include you."
The university is also inviting this year's spring graduates to return next year for a special event to highlight their accomplishments.
For residential students who head home this month, Pacific is offering students a choice of a refund or a somewhat larger credit against next year.
Hallick said the university will adjust campus services, including dining and residences, to accommodate a smaller population who decides to stay. Staff plans to follow public health guidance for transmission and possible self-quarantines.
"Pacific will emerge from these times strong," said Hallick. "We look forward to the day when we can welcome you back for small classes with caring professors, hugs from friends, and a vibrant campus life full of clubs and sports, service and celebrations."
It is likely the university will announce more measures in the future to slow the spread of COVID-19, added Hallick.
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