Last month, I announced that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to postpone our May 2020 Commencement Exercises.
I understand how disappointing this decision was to our graduating students and their families. That is why I wanted to hear suggestions from them—and from all members of the Ball State community—about alternative plans to celebrate the achievements of our graduating students.
I was impressed that we received more than 4,000 responses to our survey. The clear majority of respondents preferred that our University hold an in-person ceremony, as opposed to a “virtual” ceremony, to recognize our May graduates. Informed by their input, I have created a task force to provide me with recommendations for our future plans.
Many survey respondents expressed their preference to reschedule our Spring Commencement ceremony to coincide with our Summer Commencement ceremony on Saturday, July 18. The task force is evaluating the feasibility of this option, and I encourage you to hold this date on your calendar.
Based on the guidance we continue to receive from local and state officials, though, we may not be able to host a large event in July. Therefore, we are evaluating whether to schedule both our Spring and Summer Commencement exercises on Saturday, October 10. Please hold this date on your calendar as well.
All graduates whose Commencement exercises have been postponed will be able to participate in a future Commencement ceremony, as soon as it is safe to do so. We will continue to award degrees from our University when they are earned, and graduating students will receive their diplomas by mail.
I will continue to inform you of our future Commencement plans, all of which depend upon the guidance we receive from public health officials. For more information, please refer to the documents on our University’s COVID-19 webpage, to our Commencement FAQs, or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to the day when we can welcome our graduating students and their families back to campus to celebrate the successful culmination of their sacrifices and their hard work.
Geoffrey S. Mearns
Ball State University