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W&M to hold hybrid commencement ceremony for 2021 graduates; Invites 2020 graduates to return for in-person ceremony at later date

William & Mary
Posted at 1:49 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 14:08:23-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - William & Mary announced that they will hold some in-person and virtual commencement celebrations for the Class of 2021 and is inviting back the Class of 2020 for an in-person commencement weekend to celebrate their achievements at at later time.

School officials say they have determined that commencement will be a hybrid celebration, with in-person traditions for degree candidates and virtual engagement opportunities for families, guests and any degree candidates who are not able to be in Williamsburg.

The university is planning only for graduating students to participate in smaller in-person activities over the course of commencement weekend. They say the Commencement Committee is working to create a meaningful experiences for our degree candidates — Wren Bell ringing, Candlelight Ceremony, Walk Across Campus, degree conferral — that can be shared virtually by family and friends. Winter graduates are also welcomed to celebrate in the May ceremony.

"We understand how disappointing it is that family and guests cannot gather in person with our graduates for May’s Commencement. At the same time, we trust you understand the circumstances behind our decision. As always, we continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and its impact on our community. Our primary goal will continue to be making your Commencement Weekend celebratory and memorable for everyone involved."

For the Class of 2020, the guidance from the Commonwealth makes clear that an in-person gathering of our Class of 2020 graduates and families will not be possible this May. Due to the status of the pandemic and vaccine distribution still being uncertain for summer and early fall (and not wanting to risk our having to reschedule, the university says they are planning for a return in March 2022.

W&M will be sending a survey to the Class of 2020 to determine preferred dates next March for an in-person commencement weekend.

The university says they will provide updates for the Class of 2021 and 2020 graduates in the coming weeks.

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