Spring commencement to be held online


Michael Guido, News Editor

Gannon University announced that the rescheduled 2020 spring commencement ceremony has been altered due to risks associated with COVID-19.

The ceremony, which had originally been rescheduled to coincide with the Oct. 4 Homecoming weekend festivities, will transition to a virtual format on Saturday, Oct. 4.

In an email sent out to the Gannon community, President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., explained the reasons why the event was canceled.

“We worked hard to have face-to-face classes this fall, and our students have been doing a tremendous job abiding by tight standards for behavior and limited social gatherings and their own travel,” Taylor said.

“We do not want to risk upending those efforts by bringing several hundred of even our favorite visitors to campus from far away places,” Taylor said.

Taylor also said that the risks related to health and travel factored into the decision.

Included in the statement, Taylor apologized to students for the failure to produce a ceremony.

The ceremony, which was originally scheduled to occur in May, was postponed in April right as the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across the United States.

Because of the virus’ lingering threat and in accordance with state and local guidelines, the event will transition from an in-person experience to a virtual event.

More details pertaining to the virtual ceremony will be available in the next few weeks.

Branded as a “once in a century celebration,” Gannon is asking that graduated students send a short video message that will be chronicled in the online event to celebrate and acknowledge the time students spent at Gannon.

At this point in time, no decisions have been made regarding Gannon’s winter commencement ceremony, which as of now is scheduled to be held Saturday, Nov. 21.

Word of Gannon’s decision to cancel the in-person commencement ceremony was met with disappointment by many seniors who had been anxiously waiting for the ceremony.

Nikki Johnson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising communication and a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations, said that in the end, it wasn’t a shock to her that the ceremony was canceled.

“I saw it coming for sure,” Johnson said. “However, I am happy that they tried.”

Johnson also said that she felt the correct decision was made in canceling.

“I think it was the right call and they just want to look out for the health and safety of their alumni, current students and families,” Johnson said.

Some graduates, like Willow Herron, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering, said it didn’t matter in the end.

“At this point, it’s too late,” Herron said. “The excitement from graduation has diminished and I probably would not have wanted to go anyways.”

Herron also said it was the right call to cancel the ceremony.

“Gannon is working really hard to contain COVID-19, so why ruin all their progress now?”

Herron said she believes too that even without a ceremony, her graduating class will be remembered.

“I think a lot of us left a pretty lasting impression on campus,” Herron said.

David Long, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and a minor in digital media, concurred that he wasn’t surprised by the cancelation, and was more so sad for his mother, who wouldn’t be able to see him graduate in person.

However, Long said it didn’t take away from his time at Gannon.

“I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Gannon and the ability to earn my degree during a global pandemic,” Long said.

Long also made it a point to express his pride in the Gannon community in the face of adversity.

“Watching the Gannon community come together and work to reduce risk and provide a quality experience for students and staff has only made me more of a proud alumnus,” Long said.

“I think I can speak for most of our seniors when I say that I’m sad I wasn’t able to walk, but this surely doesn’t come close to defining my experience.”

For more information regarding the virtual commencement, visit update.gannon.edu.


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