Southwestern College leadership agreed to postpone the 2020 Commencement until December this year to allow for an in-person ceremony. In making the decision, the college surveyed and listened to eligible graduates who overwhelmingly voted to postpone the ceremony in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Of the 1,089 students who responded to the survey, nearly 55 percent said commencement was extremely or very important to them. Of that percentage, 76 percent of them answered they wanted to postpone the ceremony until December or January.
“Commencement has always been a treasured celebration of our students’ success,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo. “This decision was too important to make without getting input from graduating students.”
The survey was emailed on March 25 to 2,150 students eligible to graduate in May, and students had until April 5 to respond. The survey asked two questions: How important was participating in graduation personally and which option was preferable–a virtual ceremony in May or postponing the event until December 2020 or January 2021. The survey did convey any in-person commencement was contingent upon the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Originally to be held on May 22, Southwestern College will work to identify a date for an in-person commencement in December that considers students, faculty and future COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.