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Local commencement ceremonies to be held in-person this year

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio- (WTAP) - After a year of “virtual” events, colleges and universities in our area are returning to in-person graduation ceremonies this spring.

Marietta College plans two separate ceremonies: the class of 2021 will have ceremonies May 1, while a separate ceremony is planned May 2 for members of the class of 2020.

But, in accordance with social distancing guidelines, attendance will be limited to four people for each student.

”There will be some spacing out in the facility,” says Tom Perry, Executive Director of College Relations. “They will get their diploma; they’ll go across stage, but there won’t be shaking of hands, like a traditional graduation ceremony, like shake the president’s hand, shake the board of trustees hands. We’ve pretty much told everybody those things are going to be taken out of the process this year.”

West Virginia University at Parkersburg also plans an in-person commencement, to be held May 8th.

The 750-person ceremony will be held outdoors, and also will include graduates from the 2020 spring and fall classes.

“I made a solemn promise to this community that all of the graduates who missed this opportunity last year due to COVID-19 would be invited back the next time we had an in-person commencement, so this announcement is making good on my promise,” said WVU Parkersburg President Dr. Chris Gilmer. “The May 2021 event is being planned to honor this year’s graduates and last year’s graduates and will be held with all social-distancing protocols in place so that we can host an event that is both safe and exciting for our graduates and their families,”

Washington State Community College’s in-person activities are set for May 15th, with seating, including graduates, limited to just over 1,000.

Plans for Ohio Valley University were not immediately available.

West Virginia University will return to in-person commencement ceremonies for 4,500 graduates in May. WVU says four separate ceremonies will be held May 15 and 16 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown. Some restrictions will be in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Masks and social distancing will be required. All participants must register. Tickets will be required for admission. In addition to the latest graduates, students who graduated in May, August and December 2020 will also be eligible to participate in the exercises.

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