MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University announced on Wednesday that it will be holding a “virtual commencement experience” for graduates in May, then have an in-person celebration in December, according to a press release.
The release stated that these plans were announced in a letter and video from WVU President Gordon Gee to the Class of 2020.
“You are truly a special class,” President Gee said. “And this experience will be just one of many that will shape you throughout your life. Though the time in which we find ourselves is one of the most challenging our nation has ever faced, we know that our campus, our state and our country will come together again – stronger and more resilient than ever before. After all, we are Mountaineers.”
The release stated that the online commencement experience is titled Mountaineer Graduation Day and will be held on Saturday, May 16.
WVU officials said Potomac State College in Keyser and WVU Tech in Beckley will make their own announcements about commencement ceremonies separately.
Mountaineer Graduation Day will include ways for graduates to share their celebration with classmates, family and friends, as well as special moments to connect them with WVU, according to the release. WVU officials said that more information will be shared soon with candidates and their families.
The release stated that WVU will hold a special commencement ceremony for all May graduates on Satuurday, December 19 to recognize and celebrate their achievements. WVU officials said that additional details will be forthcoming.
The decision to move commencement to an online format was taken as part of WVU’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last week, WVU announced that it would be moving to online classes for the remainder of the spring semester.
“No one understands and empathizes with your disappointment more than we do,” Gee said in the letter. “We love and treasure you for all the energy, ideas and joy you bring to our campus. We have watched you take your first steps on campus, find your bearings and blossom into brilliant, young minds who have pursued their dreams with passion and with purpose. And that is why we cannot imagine sending you out into the world without a proper celebration.”