By Nathan Ham
If this were any other year, Appalachian State University students would be preparing for one of the most memorable days of their lives, walking across the stage at the Holmes Convocation Center celebrating their college graduation. Things are quite a bit different this spring.
“While we are heartbroken that we are not able to offer a traditional May Commencement this year, we are excited about the work our Commencement planning team has underway to provide a memorable Commencement experience for our Spring 2020 graduates that honors the work they have done to bring them to this stage in their academic careers,” said Megan Hayes, Appalachian State’s Chief Communications Officer. “We haven’t canceled a Commencement in the history of Appalachian – not even for the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19 or during World War II. With the available technology that is allowing us to continue our mission of teaching, research and service, we feel it is very important to offer a way to celebrate in May for those who wish to.
Classes officially ended on April 29 and students are finishing up final exams through next Thursday, May 7.
App State’s Virtual Commencement will be broadcast on Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m. online at appstate.edu and on the Appalachian State University Facebook page. The recording will be available as well as a keepsake to share with family and friends.
“Our Commencement Planning team, which has representation from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, is developing an event in which graduating seniors and their families can participate. We have more than 3,000 students who have registered, and we are looking forward to providing them with a celebration that will allow them to commemorate their significant achievements in a fun and memorable fashion,” Hayes said.
According to Hayes, the name of each graduate will be read and displayed in the recording and all graduates will receive a Commencement packet in the mail that will include a diploma cover and other items to celebrate their graduation. The university is still working on guest speakers for the Virtual Commencement and those details will be announced soon.
May and August graduates will also have the opportunity to participate in a special Commencement ceremony on Friday, December 11.
“We recognize it could be difficult to participate in any date other than the originally scheduled May date, but hope that by providing as much notice as possible, our May and August graduates and their families may begin planning now,” said Hayes.
Summer school sessions will proceed online as previously announced. No new details have been released on what to expect for college classes beginning in the fall semester. As of now, UNC System Interim President Bill Roper expects schools to open for in-person classes this fall.
“I expect to reopen our campuses for the Fall 2020 Semester and look forward to welcoming our faculty and students back to their classrooms and labs this fall,” Roper said in a statement Wednesday. “To do so, we are working closely with our chancellors to chart a course forward.”