The University Commencement Committee began meeting in July 2020 to explore options to celebrate our 2021 graduates. Since Fall 2020, a team (including student representatives) has been researching innovative ways to make Commencement 2021 a memorable experience for our graduates. The decision made to host virtual commencement ceremonies was thoughtful, intentional, and data-driven. In order to give you and your families ample time to plan for this celebratory occasion, we had promised the graduates a final decision by January 2021 without the ability to predict if or how health and safety guidelines could change in May. University Administration, including College Deans, all agreed that once the final decision was made in January the University would commit to that plan. Colleges decided that they would make individual determinations to plan in-person celebrations if they could be safely hosted in addition to the virtual ceremonies.
As the country begins to have more optimism with vaccines and lower COVID-19 infection rates, we understand the desire to participate in an in-person ceremony. While the country slowly opens, there are still current restrictions on large gatherings and due to the lack of an adequate physical space to accommodate crowds, WesternU is committed to hosting 11 virtual ceremonies. This decision was not made lightly, and we have done our best to navigate local, state, and federal guidelines while holding the safety of our community at the upmost of importance. And finally, although we all would have preferred an in-person ceremony where we can celebrate with you face-to-face, we sincerely wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy, and safe journey ahead. We are proud and honored to celebrate our amazing and resilient 2021 graduates.