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Spring Commencement Ceremony remains virtual

Graduation at the end of this quarter will be held virtually on June 12 in order to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19

Western Washington University students seated during the Class of 2009 fall commencement ceremony. Western has adjusted graduation ceremonies to fit a virtual setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. // Photo courtesy of Emily Marrs

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on students. Not only are they not experiencing in-person classes, but those who are finishing up their education won’t walk across the stages to receive their diplomas.

“I feel as if the pandemic robbed me of a graduation,” Jesse Figueroa-Gaona, a Western Washington University second-year transfer student said. “I am happy to graduate and to finally be done with Western's inability to make a decision.”

 At this time, it is unclear when Western will be able to go back to in-person ceremonies. The school will be hosting their 2021 Spring Graduation Commencement virtually on Saturday, June 12.

During the virtual commencement ceremony graduates names will be read alongside pictures provided by the students.

The commencement team is currently creating a custom event site for the virtual ceremony, said Emily Marrs via email, program manager in the registrar's office who oversees commencement.

“The website will host the three virtual commencement ceremonies, along with other commencement details and will go live on June 1,” Marrs said. “Virtual commencement ceremony details will be provided to the campus community and the link to the event can be shared and viewed by anyone.” 

Some students who are graduating this quarter feel as though they are missing out on the graduation experience that other students have experienced before the pandemic. 

Some schools are organizing in-person graduation ceremonies for their students. American University, a private university located in Washington D.C., is hosting the celebration at the end of spring quarter that enforces safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Lisa Stark, vice president for communications and media at American University said that prior to the stage crossing, graduates will line up physically distanced and then scan their passes for their name reading and proceed across the stage where they will get a picture taken with their universities President, Sylvia Burwell, from an appropriate distance. Seating will not be available, and graduates should expect to be in line for up to 20 to 30 minutes. 

In order to maintain health and safety standards, no guests or family members of American University students are invited to campus. A livestream of the event will be made available.

Marrs said that Western’s commencement team is doing everything they can to make accommodations for the well being of their students and staff. When it has been confirmed that it is safe to hold in-person events, graduates will be contacted via email. 

More information can be found on Western’s commencement team website.


Crystal Tucker

Crystal Tucker, reporter for The Front, is a second-year Western student, aiming to be a Public Relations major. Crystal has always had a passion for Journalism. Throughout high school, she was a part of her school paper at Sehome High School. To contact Crystal, please reach her on her school email at tuckerc7@wwu.edu.


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