WSU cancels August in-person commencement

Graduates invited to participate in future commencements

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YULING LIU | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The August in-person commencement has been canceled due to COVID-19-related concerns. WSU officials have decided gatherings of more than 50 people pose a health risk.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

WSU canceled the August in-person commencement ceremony due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19. 

Spring 2020 graduates are invited to participate in future commencement ceremonies when the risk to public health decreases, according to WSU’s commencement website

The president’s cabinet, which includes vice presidents and the chancellors of each campus, made the decision to cancel last week because it became apparent that gatherings of more than 50 people would not be possible to hold by August, said Phil Weiler, WSU’s Vice President for Marketing and Communications. 

“We tried to hold off as long as we could because we really wanted to see if things might change,” Weiler said. “Back in March … I think everybody assumed, ‘Well of course by August we’ll be able to get together again,’ and that’s just not the case.”

Most graduates look forward to walking across the stage and hearing their name at commencement, Weiler said. 

University officials considered doing a virtual commencement where each graduate’s name would be called, he said. Although it will be different from the virtual system-wide celebration in May, he said it would be a very long and unrewarding experience. 

“This particular graduating class had to endure a lot,” Weiler said.