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Seniors that were scheduled to participate in a formal graduation ceremony in May will now have to wait until September or even December to walk across the stage.

IUP officially named a new date for the rescheduled spring commencement ceremony.

Graduating students and their families are welcomed back to campus Sept. 12 and 13 after the original ceremony was postponed due to the coronavirus.

“A schedule of events for that weekend is expected to be available by mid-May,” IUP said in the news release. “College and departmental ceremonies and other recognition events that typically coincide with commencement ceremonies will not take place that weekend.” 

Many seniors and graduating students were excited about the news since their special day down the stage finally had a verified date. 

 “At first I was annoyed,” Daniece Wade (senior, international business and accounting) said. “We all worked so hard just to not graduate on time. But now, I’m fine because at least IUP is letting the seniors and graduating students walk and have a graduation ceremony still.” 

President Michael Driscoll also mentioned the graduation date change in his weekly update videos. 

“You may have heard that we have plans for a Sept. 12 commencement ceremony to recognize our May and August graduates, and we’ll look forward to seeing you then,” he said. 

IUP plans to still recognize its graduates in a virtual ceremony, too. 

“In the meantime, graduates, look next week for virtual recognition of your accomplishments that’ll show up on our website and social media channels,” Driscoll said. 

Many seniors are grateful IUP did not cancel the graduation ceremony like other colleges and universities did. 

“Although I’m sad that the semester didn’t end the ‘traditional’ way, I’m glad that IUP found a way to recognize the spring 2020 graduation class,” Melissa Horak (senior, psychology) said. “I really appreciate the fact that they took our opinions into consideration.

“I just hope that nothing changes and that the ceremony can stay on the weekend of Sept. 12. I also hope that people are able to take time off of work or time off of graduate school in order to come to the ceremony, because this is a memory that many people are going to want to have.” 

Others, however, wish the ceremony would have happened when it was scheduled to in May due to job relocation. 

“I personally hate it,” Melissa Szmurlo (senior, psychology) said. “I’m moving to South Carolina in two weeks and working a full-time job and going to graduate school, so I’m not going to be able to come back for my own graduation ceremony.” 

There was an email that went out to students who were graduating in May to survey which month students preferred the graduation ceremony should occur. The options were September or December, and most chose September. 

“I’m glad that we are still getting the option to have our ‘graduation’ moment,” Jake Pascarella (senior, management information systems) said. “For me, the real measure of success was always to get a job out of college, but it will be nice to return and see our friends and professors in person. 

“I’m surprised we are not combining our ceremony with the December graduates since I’m sure the turnout in September is going to be small.” 

Many students appreciate IUP’s efforts to ensure there’s still a graduation ceremony.

“I think it’s very considerate of IUP to still try and accommodate the graduating class of 2020 with some type of ceremony,” Abraham Villagomez (senior, political science) said. “I signed up for the May ceremony, but I don’t believe I’ll be attending the September one. 

“Some people are probably more excited about it than others, and some are not interested at all at attending the ceremony for various family, job or moving reasons. I’m curious to see how many people, students and families will actually attend the ceremony in September compared to how many were supposed to attend in May.” 

For many, graduation is a milestone that is meant to be celebrated and deserves a formal ceremony and day for recognition. 

“It’s disheartening not being able to attend graduation in May like I always planned to,” Rachel Poffenberger (senior, general management and human resource management) said, “but I’m glad IUP is postponing graduation rather than canceling it altogether. 

“Graduation is a milestone in so many people’s lives, so I think it’s important an alternative time is still offered. IUP adapting their plan to accommodate graduating seniors speaks a lot to the university’s character and means so much to me and other graduates.” 

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