Wesley Chapel on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College
Wesley Chapel on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College

Wesleyan’s May 2 graduation postponed

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan College’s May 2 Commencement Ceremony has been postponed.

Vice President for Advancement at WVWC Bob Skinner said Wesleyan has formed a committee of graduating seniors, faculty and staff to look for future commencement options. The committee has convened twice and plans to meet again.

“Wesleyan has made the difficult decision to postpone the college’s commencement ceremony,” Skinner wrote in an email to My Buckhannon Wednesday. “President Joel Thierstein has established a Special Commencement Committee that includes graduating seniors, faculty and staff.”

“The Committee is co-chaired by Dr. James Moore, dean of the faculty and [myself],” the email continues. “The Committee has met twice to discuss a number of potential options. It is premature to say any more about our planning efforts at this time.”

The college made the decision Tuesday following the federal government’s decision to extend social distancing guidelines until at least April 30, Skinner said that afternoon.

“[Our decision was impacted by] the fact that the federal government is extending the social distancing deadline to the end of April, and I think the general feeling is, we don’t know if it’s going to end there,” Skinner said. “With the federal guidelines, it’s pretty hard to have a large-scale ceremony. You also have to remember that commencement is a ceremony that requires extensive planning and setup, so the fact you have to have physical planned staff meetings, you would be asking people to do something that’s counter to what the government wants us to do.”

He said the committee plans to survey seniors, and Wesleyan students can expect the university’s next communication next Monday, April 6.

“After we came to the conclusion to postpone commencement, we started asking questions – the ‘what if’ questions moving forward,” Skinner said. “We really started putting questions together to survey the students. I think the most important thing is that everyone at the college is committed to holding a ceremony – it’s just a question of working out logistics, timing and what it will look like.”

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