OREGON, USA — Universities have finalized their plans for graduation events for this year's graduates, as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease around Oregon and Washington. Here's what we know so far.
Oregon State University
On Monday, Oregon State University said its formal commencement ceremony will be virtual this year, but they will hold an in-person celebration event the day before.
“Many of our graduates have asked for the chance to celebrate commencement in person with their peers,” said Becky Johnson, OSU’s interim president. “This opportunity to celebrate in person is now possible because Benton County has moved to low COVID-19 risk.”
The event will take place at OSU's Corvallis campus on June 11 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and include a processional that'll go through campus and end at Reser Stadium, where graduates will be seated and hear speeches from the university's speakers.
Family and friends won't be able to attend, this is for graduates only.
The virtual commencement ceremony will take place the following day on June 12 at 10:30 a.m.
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is also planning a mix of virtual and in-person celebrations. The main commencement celebration usually held at Matthew Knight Arena will be streamed virtually on June 12 at 9 a.m. It'll be followed by multiple events, including virtual school and college ceremonies.
There will also be two in-person events that day: a Grad Parade on campus and a stage procession. Students must opt-in to participate. These are only for 2021 graduates, but the stage procession will be live streamed so loved ones can still watch.
On its website, the U of O explains it's not holding bigger in-person celebrations at Autzen Stadium with loved ones because they wouldn't have enough room to accommodate graduates and their guests under the state's COVID rules, and they also don't want to encourage families to travel.
Portland State University
Portland State University plans to hold a virtual commencement ceremony on June 13, starting at 11 a.m.
On its website, the university wrote "In making this decision we considered feedback from student government leaders. The unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to the conclusion that a virtual ceremony is the best option to keep our community safe."
University of Washington
The University of Washington's President, Ana Mari Cauce, announced on April 1 that this year's spring commencement ceremonies will be held virtually, as they were for 2020.
The ceremony will be on June 12 and start at 2:05 p.m. with other pre-show events starting earlier.
Some graduating seniors have started a petition, pushing for smaller scale, in-person departmental commencement ceremonies as an option for the graduating class of 2021.
Gonzaga University held an in-person commencement ceremony outdoors earlier this month. Washington State University and Willamette University opted to hold theirs virtually. George Fox University in Newberg held a drive-through in-person ceremony the first weekend in May.