Graduate 2017

File photo from 2017 commencement ceremony. 

The graduation ceremony for the spring class of 2020 has been postponed because of COVID-19.

Missouri State University released a statement the week of April 12 that the graduating seniors can still participate in a traditional, in-person commencement ceremony on Oct. 18 or Dec. 11.

Graduation is a huge milestone for college students, celebrating how much work they have put into their education over the past four years.

Senior Rachel Mertens, a marketing research major, said she will definitely attend the graduation ceremony in October.

“I think it’s important to have a ceremony because graduating from college is a big deal and everyone deserves to celebrate,” Mertens said.

Senior Ashley Ray, an accounting major, said graduation is a milestone that one should be proud of and it is important that graduates get the opportunity to celebrate it.

The university could not hold the originally scheduled graduation ceremony in May because of the outbreak of COVID-19, which calls for social distancing.

Over 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the United States as of May 1.

The Centers for Disease Control recommended that no one has group gatherings with more than 10 people to stop the spread of the virus.

Despite the coronavirus forcing college students to return home, MSU decided to make special arrangements so spring 2020 graduates can still attend a formal graduation ceremony.

“I’m thankful that Missouri State worked so hard to find a solution to celebrate the May 2020 graduates,” Mertens said.

Some seniors, however, will not be able to attend because of distance and other conflicts.

Ray said she won’t be able to attend either of the ceremonies because she lives out of state.

“I still don’t think it would be the same if I was able to attend,” Ray said, talking about how significant it is to have a graduation at the time you finish school.

By the time the new graduation ceremonies take place, many graduates will already have jobs in different cities.

Ali Ulhorn, a senior who will graduate with a degree in religious studies, will be unable to attend either of the ceremonies as well.

“Both of the ceremonies are so far removed from the real graduation date that it won’t feel as significant  — more like an afterthought,” Ulhorn said.

The Oct. 18 ceremony is the Sunday of homecoming weekend, encouraging seniors to come back to campus to celebrate the weekend as new alumni.

While Oct. 18 is dedicated solely to Spring 2020 graduates, Dec. 11 will be a shared ceremony with the fall 2020 graduates.

“Imagine for a moment you are there … as you watch all those December grads walk across that stage, you can’t help but realize that you never had the same opportunity and attending this ceremony was only a pointless attempt to piggy-back off of someone else’s special day,” Ulhorn said.

While it is unclear how many graduates will attend either of the ceremonies, MSU created two ceremonies to give the graduates options in case of conflict.

MSU will announce the specific times for the graduation ceremonies in a few weeks.

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