Dear students and colleagues,
I have decided after thoughtful consideration and upon the recommendation of the University Ceremonies Committee that this year’s commencement ceremony must be a virtual experience. We will use an innovative platform that includes a live-stream ceremony, Zoom parties and private, dedicated social media engagements, ensuring an event that appropriately recognizes this significant occasion.
All of us had hoped that life on campus would have returned to normal by now, but that is obviously not the case. COVID-19 vaccine distribution is proceeding apace, but the growing number of virus variants casts continuing doubt on our ability to safely hold large-scale public events for the foreseeable future.
Committing to this format now – a full three months before the end of the term – allows us to create the best ceremony possible while also reducing pandemic-related uncertainties and providing safe access for all graduates, friends and family members.
We will also work closely with our academic divisions and programs on virtual or hybrid events in which they can individually recognize their graduates.
We expect that some graduates and their families may still choose to be in Ashland for this year’s virtual ceremony in June, and we will work with the local business community on tourism opportunities.
I hope you will join me in celebrating the remarkable successes of this year’s graduating class on Saturday, June 12.