Cal U plans in-person Commencement

The University will modify its ceremony to follow safety guidelines.


Jeff Helsel

“Dream Big,” a graduation cap decorated and worn by Alaina Ross ’16 at California University of Pennsylvania’s 183rd Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, Convocation Center, Dec. 17, 2016.

Cal U Communications

Cal U is planning to hold a modified in-person Commencement this spring for the Class of 2021, interim University President Robert Thorn announced on March 15.

All ceremonies will be held in the University’s 6,000-seat Convocation Center, which has the capacity to safely welcome graduates and a limited number of guests.

Each graduate who attends the in-person ceremony will receive two guest tickets. To mitigate risk, all guests must wear masks and social distancing will be required.

The schedule will be organized by college in order to meet state-mandated occupancy limits:

o   School of Graduate Studies: 7 p.m. Friday, May 7

o   College of Education and Liberal Arts: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8

o   Eberly College of Science and Technology: 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8

The events also will be livestreamed.

January and May 2021 graduates will receive more information about spring Commencement. Graduates from the Class of 2020 will be invited to a special ceremony at another time.

“This is a huge deal, as both a student leader and a May graduate,” said Amanda Considine, Student Government Association president. “I met with President Thorn a week ago, and I know he was working to find a way to have a ceremony.

“I’m so excited to have it, however it needs to be done, as long as we can finish with a celebration with the people we went to school with.”

Plans may be altered if conditions change, President Thorn reminded the Cal U community.

“It matters about campus numbers and state numbers,” Considine said. “With warmer weather, students want to hang out together, but we are at the end, and this isn’t the point to give up. Keep the mask on and keep socially distancing.

“This is the point that we all left last spring because of COVID-19, and nobody wants that to happen this year. We all want to see our friends graduate.”