Northampton Press

Monday, May 25, 2020

Colleges, universities make adjustments for graduations

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

Local colleges and universities have started adjusting their graduation dates for the Class of 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muhlenberg College has made the bold decision in announcing its graduation ceremony will be held in October.

According to Muhlenberg’s website, “We have set a planned date of Oct. 17 and 18 to hold an on-campus ceremony and baccalaureate program, including our school of continuing education graduates.”

However, Muhlenberg also will hold virtual ceremonies May 13 through 17. Administrators will mail diplomas once semester grades are finalized, according to the Allentown college’s website.

A statement on the Cedar Crest College website states, “The 150th commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be Aug. 22 at the PPL Center in Allentown.”

DeSales University, Center Valley, announced it will hold a virtual ceremony for its graduates May 16.

“In addition to this virtual event, we will honor and celebrate the Class of 2020 in an on-campus ceremony at a later date, possibly during Homecoming weekend in late September,” the website states. “More information will be posted here as it becomes available.”

Lehigh University has changed its plans, saying the originally scheduled ceremonies “would put our community at great health risk. As such, no activities will take place on these original dates, and we will postpone the commencement ceremony originally scheduled for 10 a.m. May 18. To be clear, commencement is not canceled, and we look forward to holding this celebratory event for the Class of 2020 in Goodman Stadium later this year.

According to Lehigh University’s website, the university plans to “hold a virtual celebration at the end of the academic year. Degrees will be conferred and diplomas will be mailed at the end of the academic year as originally planned. The doctoral hooding ceremony will also be postponed. We recognize there are other meaningful recognition ceremonies and activities impacted, and updates will be communicated as needed.

“All (Lehigh University) graduates will receive their diplomas approximately six to eight weeks after May 18, assuming there are no COVID-19-related delays that affect the vendor’s turnaround time to print and mail diplomas. We will continue to provide updates on timing.”

The website continues: “What is a virtual celebration? The details are being refined, but the virtual celebration will provide an opportunity for graduating seniors to be recognized for their contributions and hard work and to be welcomed into the Lehigh alumni family. More information will be posted on the website as it becomes available.”

Moravian College has changed its planned graduation date. The college posted the following notice on its website:

“Moravian will host an on-campus graduation ceremony Oct. 24 (Homecoming weekend). We are still working on the timing for that ceremony and the other events that will be incorporated into that day.”

“This has the potential to be our most memorable graduation ceremony in 278 years because it will bring together generations of Hounds who all care about you and Moravian College,” Moravian College President Bryon Grigsby said on the school’s website.

Lehigh Carbon Community College has canceled its planned May 13 commencement ceremony at PPL Center.

“Please check back here for further updates” is the message featured on the website.

Northampton Community College’s website continues to list May 21 for its commencement ceremonies.

Lafayette College announced its graduation for the Class of 2020 will be Aug. 1.

Kutztown University announced its commencement for the Class of 2020 will likely be moved to this fall.

“At this time, we feel that it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our campus community for the formal May commencement ceremonies to be rescheduled for a later date, most likely during the fall semester,” President Kenneth S. Hawkinson said in statement published on the university’s website.