Purdue University announces plan to hold remote commencement ceremony

Education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.– Purdue University announced a plan Thursday to give the Class of 2020 a commencement ceremony which will be as close to the real thing as possible during this pandemic.

During this remote ceremony, graduates will hear their names called, hold diplomas in their hands, wear a cap and gown and be able to participate in all of the pomp and circumstance of a traditional commencement.

The Purdue Bands will participate and Purdue President Mitch Daniels will give an address.

“Purdue is known for the most personal and memorable commencement of any large university. If we can’t put on the nation’s best traditional ceremony, then we’ll produce the best remote one,” said Daniels. “We promise to continue to do this the Purdue way: Students will still receive their own diploma, each name will be called individually, and participants will hear from our excellent student musicians and speakers. It’s a huge disappointment to us all that we can’t do this in person, but with input from a creative group of graduating seniors, we will do the best we can to preserve the essence of this special occasion.”

The university says graduates will receive a mailing which will include a diploma cover, the program for the commencement, honor cards as earned and information about how to download their own ceremony, which can be watched at any time with family members. The mailing will be received before May 15, the original date for commencement.

Graduates can buy or rent a cap and gown from Herff Jones as planned, and the deadline to do so has been extended to April 22.

The university will provide virtual photo backgrounds and filters for graduates to capture photos in their caps and gowns. The virtual locations include the stage at Elliot Hall and spots near the Bell Tower or Gateway to the Future arch.

“We are still gathering ideas, and we’ll have even more details to share soon. In the meantime, we want you to know how important this is to us, how deeply we share in your disappointment that the usual ceremony can’t go on as planned and how hard we’re working to create a meaningful, memorable experience,” said Purdue registrar Keith Gehres.

In the coming weeks, graduates will get more information about the virtual ceremony and opportunities to attend a future ceremony in person.

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