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Penn State Plans Virtual Commencement For May 9, ‘Exploring Options’ For Later In-Person Celebration

Penn State will host a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9, the university announced in an email to graduating seniors Monday. All undergraduate and Graduate School graduates will be honored at the ceremony, and individual colleges and campuses will plan complementary events to honor students on a more personal basis.

The announcement did little more than expand on what we already knew, as commencement had already been postponed once the remainder of the semester was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 18. At a town hall last month, President Eric Barron introduced the idea of a two-phase commencement that included a virtual ceremony first and a potential in-person one at a later date.

“The sense of community among Penn Staters is one of the hallmarks of this university,” Barron wrote in the email to graduates. “While we cannot be together in person to mark your accomplishments, I hope that you, along with your friends and families will join us online to celebrate your academic achievements. This change to a virtual ceremony should not detract from the pride that you and your families should take in your accomplishments to earn your Penn State degree.”

This latest announcement didn’t seem as committal to the in-person ceremony as Barron let on at the town hall where it seemed like it’d be a priority down the road. The second phase, as he called it at the town hall, was only briefly mentioned in the second-to-the-last paragraph of the latest email.

“We share your desire to come together in person, and are exploring options to invite graduates back to campus to be recognized for your accomplishments,” it said.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected] All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.


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