Schools adjusting to changes in graduation ceremonies


It’s a day high school and college seniors remember forever, but that special day won’t be the same for the class of 2020.

“This is it; this is their day in the sun, this is their 15 minutes, the pinnacle of their school career,” said Fonda Anderson, Indiana Sales Rep for Balfour Company. “For them to miss out on that completely would be a tragedy really.”

Balfour Company supplies graduation materials to several Indiana universities and high schools. They’re doing drive-thru pickup of cap and gowns and are offering virtual graduations as schools start making tough decisions.

“Best case scenario they’re going to postpone and put off and do a regular commencement,” Anderson said. “But if they do a virtual commencement, get those kids in those caps and gowns. Get pictures with mom and dad, with grandma and grandpa when they can see them again.”

Purdue University cancelled graduation in March and is now sending out a special celebration box to every graduate, which includes their tassel and Purdue gear.

“We always celebrate the student when they first come in as a freshman, and it means a lot to celebrate their academic achievement going out,” said Chris Pass, Senior Assistant Registrar at Purdue University.

Indiana University is doing the same. Caps and gowns were shipped to students, and a virtual graduation website is launching soon. It will include videos of speakers and lists every graduate.

“It’s very important to us to make sure we’re conveying to our graduates how proud we are of them,” said Doug Booher, Executive Director of University Events at Indiana University.

Postponing or moving virtual is a tough decision for schools to make. But in the end, what matters most is that the class of 2020 gets their due.

Don’t let the class of 2020 go uncelebrated,” Anderson said. “Let these kids at some point come together, be in their cap and gown, and enjoy that moment if at all possible.”

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