Spring commencement to be in person

Marshall University announced that there will be a spring 2021 commencement ceremony, and administration is working towards more of an in-person fall semester.   

The graduation ceremony will be held Saturday, May 1, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and will be the first in-person ceremony held since the pandemic started.   

According to the press release, the event will begin at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Students will be given four tickets each for guests to maintain safe social distancing.   

“Masks will be required for everyone in attendance. Graduating students also will be required to wear flat shoes to protect the football field turf,” the press release said.   

Due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases, the two graduation ceremonies from 2020 were postponed and eventually replaced with a virtual ceremony. Students who graduated during the 2020 semesters will have an option to walk during the spring 2021 in-person ceremony.   

“Any student who has not been able to participate in a graduation ceremony during the pandemic is welcome to join the commencement,” said Leah Payne, director of communications. “The registrar’s office is in the process of contacting those recent graduates and current graduating students with all the information necessary for this event.”  

The university said there is always a chance things can shift to virtual depending on the circumstances of COVID-19, but they are hopeful the ceremony will be in-person.   

Students will not have the usual Countdown to Commencement activities, but Payne says student affairs is planning to share a video with all the information normally available during the event.   

As for the fall 2021 semester, the university plans to have most of the classes delivered face-to-face.   

According to the press release, President Jerry Gilbert said there has been planning to ensure students’ and employees’ safety. Gilbert also wants to ensure students and families are aware of university decisions for the fall semester in advance to allow enough time regarding personal decisions. 

“At this point, the President is hopeful we can return to about 75% face-to-face classes and activities,” Payne said. “However, it’s important to note that mask-wearing will still be required and several health and safety measures like handwashing and social 

    distancing will still be observed.”  

With things slowly moving back to a normal routine, President Gilbert shared his hopefulness in the press release.    

“As vaccinations have become more available and the positivity rate drops, we will move towards resuming pre-pandemic activities and behaviors,” Gilbert said. “I am confident we are seeing the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, and I’m ready, like all of us, to return to a level of normalcy in the fall.” 

Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected]