UW-W Announces Commencement Will Not Take Place on May 16 — At Least Not in Person

COVID-19 and Commencement

Dear Warhawks,

We understand the challenges facing students during these extraordinary times.  We also recognize the sacrifices our students and others are making. The spread of COVID-19 has compelled us to make difficult choices that put the safety of our students, their families, our employees, and our communities first.  This was not the semester anyone expected.

At the same time, we are guided by a principle of assisting all students’ progress toward their degrees.  We are especially committed to assisting students to meet the requirements for graduation this semester and are doing everything we can to fulfill that commitment through alternative means of course delivery.

However, given the circumstances facing our university, our community, the nation and the world, we have decided we cannot hold an in-person graduation ceremony as scheduled in May. 

This decision is consistent with Governor Evers’ Executive Order barring mass gatherings.  As a result, we are considering alternative ways to mark the tremendous achievement of graduates.

We are looking at a number of options and we want to hear your voices. Here is a link to a survey: https://uwwhitewater.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9EJyglXLZ8iaTuR (Banner note: the survey is also printed below this letter)

It offers options for celebrating our students and their accomplishments. We ask that you respond no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 3.

This is a decision I was hoping we would not have to make and I know it is disappointing to so many. We will celebrate commencement one way or another, and we will do our best to honor the desires of our graduates.

I thank you again for all of your support and understanding in these difficult times.

Dr. Dwight C. Watson

Survey sent to graduating seniors:
Dear Warhawks, 
Please tell us about who you are:

  • May 2020 graduating senior
  • Student
  • Faculty/Instructional staff
  • Administrator/non-instructional academic staff/university staff
  • Family member
  • Community member
  • Other, please identify:

We want your opinion. We will not have May commencement in person, would you prefer

  • Virtual commencement broadcast on May 16
  • Commencement postponed until August or September
  • Commencement postponed and held in concert with the December commencement
  • Other comments:

Thank you for your feedback, understanding and support as we navigate this unprecedented situation and find an alternative way to celebrate the Class of 2020.

Office of the Chancellor

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