Western Kentucky University’s graduating seniors won’t have commencement ceremonies next month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the school said it is aiming for a makeup date this fall.
WKU President Timothy Caboni announced the decision in a video Monday to students. He said the option was preferred by a majority of spring 2020 graduating seniors who were asked about their wishes during two surveys WKU administered.
“It’s overwhelmingly clear from both surveys (that) the majority of our 2020 class wishes to come back to campus for commencement activities during our Parent and Family Weekend this fall,” Caboni said.
That said, a planning team will work toward holding commencement events on the weekend of Sept. 19, but that date is tentative, Caboni stressed.
“It’s important to understand that whatever we do will be guided by public health officials,” Caboni said. “If the pandemic prohibits a celebration in September, we’ll regroup and alter our plans, again, with you as the guiding voice.”
Regardless of what the pandemic brings, Caboni promised an event with “electric energy, unlike anything we’ve ever seen on our campus.”
Caboni also announced plans to reopen WKU for the fall semester, a process that will be led by four campus committees focusing on different aspects of campus life. The committees will focus on academics, student experience, athletics and the university’s facilities operations.
“During the past several weeks the leadership team and budget office, in consultation with the Board of Regents, have created financial scenarios and budget contingencies for next fiscal year. This work continues through the Budget Executive Committee and the university’s budget creation process,” Caboni wrote in a separate email.
“I don’t know what the fall semester will look like. Regardless of what it holds, our institution will be successful because of its people. We will harness the creativity of the WKU community to think differently about how we accomplish our mission, and we will be prepared for any eventuality.”
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.