Utah State University will host approximately 50 in-person college convocation events in May to provide graduating students in Logan an opportunity to experience commencement on campus.
On May 6-7, graduating students in Logan are invited to participate in small events that will include a processional from an outdoor staging area to an indoor campus location, a short program, individual recognition of students, presentation of diploma covers, and professional photos of each student. These celebrations will be in several locations across campus and limited to students and some college faculty. Families and friends of students are invited to attend virtually via aggiecast.usu.edu, USU’s high-quality livestream system.
USU will not host a large in-person commencement ceremony this spring due to the ongoing pandemic but will broadcast a virtual program the evening of May 5.
“I am thrilled we have found a way to honor our graduates and provide an opportunity for them to celebrate with fellow students on our beautiful campus this spring,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett. “The class of 2021 has shown incredible resilience and flexibility, and we look forward to recognizing their hard work.”
Each small gathering will include a video of President Cockett conferring degrees, recorded speeches by each valedictorian, and recorded bagpipe and “Pomp and Circumstance” music during the processional. Friends and family will be able to watch a live streaming video of each event.
Graduating students must apply for graduation by February 28 and RSVP for their college convocation celebrations in mid-March, allowing the university to plan for appropriate social distancing and maintain a list for contact tracing if necessary. Events will include 60-80 students, college and department faculty leadership, and a limited number of other faculty who will serve as ushers. Masks will be required throughout, and accommodations such as hygiene stations and special signage will lessen risk.
Candidates for master’s and doctoral degrees will be invited to participate in a private hooding ceremony conducted by a member of their household prior to attending their event in full regalia. Those students will be encouraged to record their hooding and share it to social media, and those videos will be shown on USU’s commencement website.
Like other universities and colleges, USU was forced to cancel its 2020 commencement ceremony in the weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States last year. The class of 2020 will be provided an opportunity to return to USU at a later date, as the risk of traveling to Logan at this time is still too great. The university will communicate with 2020 graduates through email or mail later this year, and those graduates should update their contact information at https://www.usu.edu/alumniupdate/.
President Cockett said the university has adapted as the world has learned more about COVID-19 and how it transmits. Months of research-based decision-making and nimble planning led to USU developing a plan for 2021 graduates.
“This year’s commencement may be unorthodox, but I am proud we have found a way to minimize risk while still celebrating together,” President Cockett said. “USU has explored a plethora of options while considering the changing and unpredictable public health environment. This is a logistically complicated plan that relies on the hard work of each college.”
Other details about May commencement and convocation will be released over the next several weeks on USU’s commencement website, including potential adjustments to the plan should the pandemic worsen.
Statewide campuses are developing plans for commencement activities and will inform students in the near future.