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More Than 2,000 Sign Petition For Penn State To Hold In-Person Graduation Ceremony

Merely hours after Penn State’s announcement that this spring’s commencement ceremonies would take place virtually on May 9, a Change.org petition requesting a proper in-person graduation ceremony in place of virtual pomp and circumstance has gained more than 2,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Although a virtual commencement ceremony is set in stone, Penn State is currently “exploring options” to bring students back to campus to properly celebrate down the line. President Eric Barron mentioned doing so when discussing his two-phased commencement plan in a town hall in March but details remain scarce.

The petition was created by senior Brianna Smith within the hour of Penn State’s announcement. In a short blurb, Smith argued that a virtual ceremony wouldn’t feel quite right and the senior class deserves a proper send-off.

“This is heartbreaking news for the class of 2020 who have already lost the end of their senior year,” Smith wrote in the petition’s description. “They have been robbed of their last moments at Penn State already due to the coronavirus and were looking forward to at least getting closure as they walked across the stage on graduation day, a day they have looked forward to for the last 4 years.”

Smith added how she felt Penn State didn’t prioritize graduation plans and rather treated them as an afterthought amid the university’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let the Class of 2020 feel that special Penn State Magic,” she wrote. “They have worked so hard for this day of celebration. Give them an in-person graduation.”

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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