The Philadelphia region has no shortage of colleges and universities, and thousands of students graduate into the city’s various workforces every year.
But in March, as many schools turned to virtual instruction to finish out the semester, many graduating seniors were left wondering about what springtime commencement would look like.
“I’ve seen many students, especially seniors, express their sadness about spending the rest of their time in college in online classes,” Technical.ly editorial intern Marybeth Gerdelmann wrote last month. “The change came quick. Not all students can thrive in an online learning environment.”
Now, college seniors are taking finals online and wrapping up Zoom meetings for the semester while job hunting for the first time during a pandemic.
Most of these students will officially “graduate” in the coming weeks, but have no clue if or when they’ll get to don a cap and gown and walk across a stage to accept their diploma. Here’s how some area schools have decided to handle the big day (and check out Forbes’ extensive roundup of graduation plans around the country):
Temple’s in-person graduation is considered “postponed,” although seniors will official earn their degree on May 7. On that date, the university announced last week, seniors will be able to celebrate and “share messages of support” with a virtual ceremony at 11 a.m.
The in-person graduation will occur when it’s safe to do so, the university said.
Temple family, we’re collecting words of wisdom, videos, photos and more to celebrate the Class of 2020. Submissions will be shared on our website on May 7th, the day our seniors officially become #TempleMade.
— Temple University (@TempleUniv) April 27, 2020
In a message to students, Drexel President John Fry told the university community that the pandemic “has forced us to postpone all Drexel commencement ceremonies this spring.”
“Some of our colleges may conduct virtual and other unique ceremonies or recognitions, as well. Details about these events will be shared directly to students by their respective schools and colleges,” he wrote.
Drexel operates on a quarter system, and summer instruction has been deemed to be online, the school said.
Monday, April 6 marks the beginning of the spring quarter. This is a societal challenge that we need to take on — and if we do anything well at Drexel, it’s to prepare you to face life’s unexpected challenges. We are Dragons — we are one. See you (virtually) on Monday! pic.twitter.com/ayl8v2vZzJ
— Drexel University (@DrexelUniv) April 3, 2020
University President Rev. Peter Donohue announced that in lieu of gathering on May 15, the university will have a live-streamed ceremony on YouTube.
“When it is safe to gather, Villanova will honor its graduates in person, on campus and is currently exploring possible dates,” the school said.
For all members of the Class of 2020 and their families, new details and FAQs about the Friday, May 15 Online Degree Conferral are now available.
— Villanova University (@VillanovaU) April 16, 2020
Students at Penn were informed by President Amy Gutmann back in March that in-person commencement would be canceled and instead a ceremony would be taking place virtually on May 18 at 11 a.m.
“While it will not be the same as our traditional ceremony, we are committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020, and we will strive to make the virtual event as meaningful and celebratory as the circumstances permit,” she wrote. “We are also exploring the possibility of an on-campus celebration for this year’s graduates that could be held in the fall.”
Penn will host an online University-wide graduation event at 11 a.m. on May 18 and Penn’s social media channels. In-person celebrations for Penn’s 264th Commencement will still take place on campus at a later date. https://t.co/butucEd3qF
— Penn (@Penn) April 16, 2020
As of late April, CCP announced it would be postponing its spring commencement.
— Community College of Philadelphia (@CCPedu) April 27, 2020
In-person commencement planned for May 9 will no longer be held, but a virtual celebration will take place on that date at 11 a.m., the university said in a statement.
“We WILL gather in-person to honor your class when it is once again safe to do so. In the meantime, please join me, your classmates, your professors and our staff for this virtual celebration to share in the excitement that we all hold for you,” wrote Colleen Hanycz, university president.