Class of 2020 gets new commencement date

Wilkes announces a September commencement ceremony in light of COVID-19

Commencement is something many graduating seniors look forward to, but with concerns over COVID-19 and a postponed ceremony, Wilkes seniors were left wondering if they would get a chance to throw their caps in the air.

Those worries have now subsided for many, as Wilkes has picked a new commencement date.

Spring Commencement, originally set to take place May 16, will now be held Sept. 12. At 10 a.m., graduate students will receive their diplomas, and at 3 p.m., the undergraduate ceremony will be held.

Madison Hummer

Interim President Paul Adams noted that summer commencement would also be moved to the Sept. 12.

“This new time-frame allows us to combine our spring and summer commencements during one momentous occasion when we can all be together again,” Adams stated in an April 20 email.

 While some students are disappointed in the later date of the ceremony, most understand the decision and are happy to be able to walk.

 “I think it’s great that Wilkes is allowing us the opportunity to walk when it’s safe for us,” said Rachel Nardozzi, a member of the spring 2020 graduating class.

Kylie Dillion, another member of the 2020 class, echoed similar sentiments. She appreciates the senior activities and that there will still be warm weather, which were highlighted by Adams.

“I don’t mind the date. It will still be beautiful, and (there will be) warm weather, which is exciting to me,” explained Dillion. “I’m really, really grateful we’re still getting a ceremony and a weekend full of senior activities. I was scared for a while that they would just mail us our diplomas and that would be the end.”

 With many universities canceling commencement ceremonies altogether, many members of the 2020 graduating class at Wilkes are happy to be having a ceremony and will be taking advantage of the opportunity, regardless of the date.

“I’ll definitely be walking,” said Bridget Galle, a member of the 2020 graduating class.

Some students so have concerns over the unusual timing of graduation. With commencement being held almost four months later, some seniors are anticipating securing positions in their field by that time.

“I just hope I don’t have to work,” said Hope Sipler, a member of the class of 2020.

Adams highlighted these concerns in his statement to students. Spring graduates’ diplomas will be mailed in June, and will receive a representation of their degree at the Sept. 12 commencement. Summer graduates will receive their diplomas at the September ceremony, or by mail, if they choose not to attend the ceremony.

Adams further elaborated that this plan is tentative to guidance of national and local health officials.

“For a myriad of reasons, we hope the regional, national and global health situation is in a better place by September.”