Nicole Dossa (Left) and Kathryn Lynn Vonn Bargen hug during undergraduate commencement ceremonies in 2019. Photo by Ben Siegel / Courtesy Ohio University.

Ohio University’s fall commencement ceremony will be held virtually this year, university officials said.

“Following continued state guidance around large gatherings, the University developed a virtual plan to recognize and celebrate our fall graduates even in the midst of this unique time when we can’t come together,” according to a university news release. 

The ceremony will be streamed on the university's commencement website at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. The website also contains information about how students can purchase commencement items, such as caps, gowns and cords.

“We are very proud of our graduates and want to honor them appropriately,” OU President Duane Nellis said in the OU release. “While spring 2020 graduates opted for an in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so, the fall class will celebrate with a virtual recognition ceremony. We have a team of staff members working on plans for a dynamic virtual event that will honor and celebrate our fall graduates.”

Fall graduates, their friends and family can expect a formal academic ceremony with addresses from select university leaders and special speakers to be announced, the university stated. The name of each candidate for graduation will be announced during the ceremony.

In addition, the commencement ceremony for students who graduated this spring will be held off until students can congregate safely, the university said.

The university previously sent out a survey to students, asking them to respond with their preferences for a commencement ceremony and offering three options.

The first option was “to hold a virtual commencement ceremony this fall, and graduates will receive an open invitation to walk at an in-person ceremony of their choosing.” The second option was to partake in a virtual ceremony, with a promised event hosted by the university’s alumni association after. The final option was for the university to postpone commencement until the ceremony could be held in-person.

“The responses showed that the Class of 2020 would still like to have the opportunity to walk across the Commencement stage and celebrate with friends and family when it is safe to do so,” Nellis said in a letter posted on the university’s commencement website. “We plan to honor that request with a special Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony, when it is finally deemed safe to gather in large groups again.”

The university has not yet announced plans for when the in-person commencement for Spring 2020 graduates will take place.

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