Commencements amid COVID-19

The current pandemic taking place has caused a number cancellations and postponements of special events including concerts, sports games and graduations. Unfortunately, current seniors at West Texas A&M University must face the postponement of their college graduation ceremony. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

“I want to talk directly to our seniors who will soon be WT graduates. I am so very sorry that the spring semester that was to be filled with recitals, projects, and thesis presentations, events programs and competitions has changed so drastically,” said university president Dr. Walter Wendler in a video released by WTAMU. 

No doubt this was set to be an important and memorable time for seniors that worked hard to finish their degree plan and celebrate their accomplishments. 

“I was just ready to walk the stage in my cap and gown. Having family and friends to celebrate with would have made it a very special day,” said senior, agriculture business and economics major Jake Holtman. 

By this time, many graduating seniors were prepared for their graduation and plans after they received their degree and walked the stage. 

“In preparation for graduation I had already taken my senior photos, sent announcements out to friends and family, and set up some future career plans,” said senior, sports and exercise science major Taylor Stephenson.

Though many seniors are disappointed with the postponement of an event they waited four or more years for, they also understand the importance of people’s health and taking care of themselves during this time. 

“The health of the community is more important than so many things…it’s sad to me that it includes our graduation ceremony, but if postponing it saves lives I think it’s a no brainer,” Holtman said. 

The university has been commended in regards to the actions being taken to protect the health of the students and surrounding community. 

“While this is not my ideal way of spending my last few weeks of college, I think the university is handling this really well. They are doing what is necessary to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff,” Stephenson said. 

The postponement of graduation and all of the other events scheduled to take place for the remainder of the semester have been hard on many students and faculty members. 

“No one wants to make hard decisions like these, but I think they’ve [the university] done a good job of taking care of WT in this time,” Stephenson said. 

There is no set date as to when postponed graduation ceremonies are to take place. However, the university does plan on having them at some point in the future. 

“The completion of a degree is a joyful time and something you should truly be proud of. We look forward to celebrating your achievements as soon as it is safe to do so,” Wendler said