Wesleyan to hold virtual commencement May 2, but officials say traditional celebration later is also in the works

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan College’s 2020 Commencement ceremony will still take place on Saturday, May 2, as previously scheduled.

However, this year’s graduation ceremony won’t exactly proceed as planned: Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, college officials announced this week that the ceremony would take place virtually rather than in-person.

The West Virginia Wesleyan College Special Commencement Planning Committee sent an email to students Tuesday announcing the college will have a virtual commencement ceremony May 2 at 10 a.m.

Vice President for Advancement Bob Skinner said the committee has decided to have the virtual ceremony, but there will also be a traditional ceremony later on.

“The stay-at-home order is in place until April 30, and the virtual commencement ceremony is not intended to replace a traditional ceremony that we hope to hold later in the calendar year,” Skinner said. “The committee and the students thought it was important to have some type of ceremony to commemorate May 2 so that’s why we decided to hold the virtual ceremony.”

He said the details for the virtual ceremony are still being ironed out, and the committee will have another meeting on the subject Monday, April 13.

“We do intend to have a traditional ceremony sometime in the future,” Skinner said. “We’re monitoring the stay-at-home orders that we are under right now by the governor and the president, and we are going to survey our students with a number of date choices, and we’ll probably do that later this month.”

The email sent from the committee said they have penciled in three potential dates for the traditional ceremony including Nov. 21-22, 2020; Dec. 18-19, 2020; and May 8-9, 2021.

“We are looking at an even earlier date, but it just depends how all this shakes out,” Skinner said. “Our preference would be to go far earlier than November.”

The email said students can expect details about the virtual commencement April 14.

“I think the students felt that date was penciled in on their calendar as the point of celebrating four or five years of really hard work, so they felt we needed to have something on that date at that time to honor the class,” Skinner said.

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