ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia has announced the dates for commencement ceremonies to honor its spring graduates.
In a letter to graduates, university President Jere W. Morehead invited them to celebrate their accomplishments at Sanford Stadium and Stegeman Coliseum on two separate dates in the fall, provided the gatherings are declared safe by federal and state health officials.
The spring 2020 undergraduate ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m., at Sanford Stadium.
The spring 2020 ceremony for masters and doctoral degree candidates has been scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 at 2:30 p.m., in combination with the scheduled fall 2020 graduate commencement ceremonies.
Morehead said the in-person ceremonies will only take place if "it is deemed safe to do so at that time by the CDC and state health officials."
“This time-honored tradition marks the culmination of the hopes, dreams, hard work and sacrifices of you and your families,” Morehead said. “While the current pandemic has unfortunately led to a cancellation of May graduation ceremonies across the nation, including the University of Georgia’s, your achievements are in no way diminished by this necessary action.”
He said that he shared in the students' disappointment that the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has forced the university to cancel the spring ceremonies, originally scheduled for May 8.
The university said they still plan to commemorate the original commencement date of May 8 with a congratulatory online message to acknowledge the conferral of degrees earned by the graduates.
Several colleges and universities in Central Georgia have rescheduled their Spring commencements as well.
On Tuesday, Mercer University President William Underwood announced several of the traditional May commencement ceremonies are rescheduled for August dates and the Mercer School of Medicine ceremony will be held virtually in May.
“We celebrate not only your accomplishments, but also the cherished roles of members of your family, your friends, and your teachers,” Underwood said in an email to students.
Last month, Fort valley State University postponed it's Spring commencement to Saturday, Aug. 8. More information is available on the university's website.
"We are hopeful that this extended time will allow for a more positive outcome of this unprecedented disaster," Fort Valley State University president said in a statement.
President Steve Dorman at Georgia College says the university is exploring options to hold a virtual spring commencement ceremony Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2.
"We are committed to providing a postponed traditional ceremony in the near future as soon as the CDC and DPH indicate that it is safe to do so in a large event environment," Dorman said in a letter to students.
Middle Georgia State University has a graduation committee working on alternate dates for the ceremony. In the meantime, the school is putting together congratulatory digital and video messages and a social media campaign to honor their seniors.
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