Marshall University cancels commencement ceremony
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Marshall University has announced it has cancelled its commencement ceremony scheduled for August 8.
The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.
The original ceremony date, May 2, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the officials with the university, Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert says the decision was “incredibly difficult”.
President Gilbert says the university will honor the Class of 2020 at the Winter Commencement planned for Saturday, December 12, tentatively at the Mountain Health Arena in downtown Huntington.
“Unfortunately, West Virginia and Cabell County have experienced a steady and significant increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks,” President Gilbert said. “We consulted with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and our own Marshall Health chief medical officer, and they do not believe it is safe to host such a large, in-person gathering due to the increased risk of transmitting the virus, even with the measures we had planned to protect graduates and guests.”
Officials say when the university announced the ceremony planned for August over two months ago, it was predicated on COVID-19 infection levels remaining relatively low.
President Gilbert says they made the decision Tuesday so anyone who was planning to travel to Huntington for the event had plenty of advance notice.
Marshall says their Registrar sent eligible graduates an email last week to tell them the university was monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the community and to alert them that there was a chance the ceremony would not go on as planned. Since that message was sent, the number of cases statewide has continued to rise.
Governor Jim Justice issued an executive order Monday that shut down fairs and festivals and prohibited indoor and outdoor concerts.
Officials with the university says this cancellation relates only to the graduation ceremony and public celebration. It doesn’t change the semester completion date for students and it won’t affect the timeline for students earning their degrees.
President Gilbert says, “as one of the newest Sons and Daughters of Marshall, you have reached a significant milestone—one that certainly calls for celebration. I look forward to welcoming the Class of 2020 back as soon as we can safely host large events once again.”
The Class of 2020 is asked to check their email or visit Marshall’s commencement website for more information on the Winter Commencement.
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