Auburn University detailed plans on Tuesday morning for its combined spring and summer 2020 commencement on Aug. 8.
Weather permitting, ceremonies are set to take place in Jordan-Hare Stadium as voted by spring and summer graduates in a recent survey, who "overwhelmingly selected" the stadium over other possible scenarios.
"From the beginning, we have worked to balance three important goals when planning our graduation ceremonies," said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. "Beginning with measures to support the safety of our graduates and guests, we have also strived to uphold the tradition of our ceremonies while engaging input from our students."
Two ceremonies are scheduled to account for lower temperatures — the first at 7 a.m. and the second at 7 p.m. In addition, livestreams of the ceremonies will be available for those who cannot attend.
All graduates will be physically distanced on the field, but they will be required to wear face coverings, the University said. Students may remove any coverings for their graduation photos as Gogue gives them a copy of the Auburn Creed rather than shaking hands.
Families and other guests in the stands will also be physically distanced, and are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings, the University said.
The morning event will commemorate graduates of the Harbert College of Business; the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; the School of Nursing; and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.
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The evening event will commemorate the College of Agriculture; the College of Education; the College of Human Sciences; the College of Liberal Arts; and the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
College of Veterinary Medicine and Harrison School of Pharmacy graduates will have their own ceremonies at Auburn Arena on Aug. 1, according to the University.
Auburn said it will provide readily accessible and available hand sanitizer for all students, families and guests, and stadium surfaces will be cleaned between the events. Graduates will be given bottled water because of high temperatures, and guests in the stands will be provided concessions.
Mary Margaret Turton, SGA president for the 2019-20 year and a spring 2020 graduate in business analytics, said she was pleased that the University will still be holding an in-person commencement and is looking forward to participating.
"Although our class was unable to share in the unique traditions that are associated with spring graduation, the opportunity to come back to Auburn and walk across the stage in Jordan-Hare Stadium is something we will never forget," Turton said. "It's so important for our spring graduates to participate in August commencement and have this symbolic experience that we could not have in May due to the pandemic."
The University is prepared to move the ceremonies to Auburn Arena as is standard should weather or the current COVID-19 status prohibit the use of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Livestreams will occur in either case, but guests may not be allowed to attend if commencement is moved to the arena.
Those with questions about spring and summer commencement in August are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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