Summer commencement canceled due to flood

Abbey Haldeman, Staff Writer

Not only did the recent flooding cause trauma to homeowners Northeastern Pennsylvania, but it also put a stop to the summer commencement ceremonies scheduled to occur on Sept. 11 at Wilkes University.
The summer commencement for 2011 summer graduates has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. Graduates are invited and encouraged to participate in the upcoming May graduation ceremony.
Dr. Paul Adams, vice president of Student Affairs, said “the flooding threat posed by the Susquehanna River and the mandatory evacuation in place in Wilkes-Barre”, were the factors in canceling the ceremonies.
The decision was made by the University’s President’s Cabinet after the evacuation was put into affect on Sept 4.
The entire Wilkes campus was evacuated for safety reasons and events scheduled on the weekend were postponed and some, such as the commencement, were canceled completely.
Just over 600 graduates had completed their degrees at the end of summer and the 140 who had planned on attending were given the news that there would no longer be a ceremony via the University’s emergency Web page.
When the University decided not to reschedule it was said to be because of short notice and only time they would be able to make it up would be in November.
It is questioned as to why the University would not re-schedule the ceremonies for the following weekend or for the near future.
“In fairness to the participants and their families, we would never give such a short notice for a re-scheduled ceremony,” said Dr. Adams.
However, many graduates who have worked hard to be able to attend a ceremonial gathering are disappointed that Wilkes canceled the ceremony and is not planning to reshedule it.
Laura Boone, 2011 summer graduate, was amongst the majority of students who expressed discontent in Wilkes’ decision.
“I feel like cancelling commencement was a slap in the face to the summer graduates.,” she said. “We worked just as hard as any other graduates and instead of have a ceremony, ours was cancelled and we had to get our diplomas from the mailbox.”
Graduates who had ordered their cap and gown to wear at graduation were instructed to keep them if they wish to participate in the upcoming May graduation.
Dr. Adams stated that most of the complaints or questions asked by the graduates were not about whether or not the ceremonies would be rescheduled, but as to when their diplomas would be mailed to them.
“I understood their initial reasoning for postponing it as they obviously had no choice with the flooding, but to not reschedule it at all was definitely upsetting to say the least,” Boone said.
Originally, State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski was scheduled to speak at the commencement, but now Wilkes is not sure if or when he will be able to give a speech to the campus.  Wilkes is considering asking him to do so for next summer’s ceremony, holding out hope that the same situation does not happen again.
More information regarding the cancelation is available at