‘After taking into consideration your preferences and the public health conditions, we have decided to postpone the Winter Commencement ceremony until May 2021.’ UTEP President Heather Wilson – Clip courtesy UTEP
Friday morning University of Texas at El Paso officials announced their decision to postpone yet another graduation ceremony, due to the Covid-19 surge in the area.
As with both the Spring and Summer in-person commencements, the decision to postpone the Fall ceremony was based public health conditions.
UTEP President Heather Wilson released the following statement and video regarding the decsion.
“I know many of you have been waiting for a decision about plans for December Commencement.
We tried a virtual ceremony in September and it was disappointing. It seemed more like a reminder of what we couldn’t do than a real recognition of your accomplishment.
We asked our 2020 graduates about what you wanted.
We really wanted to make some kind of December ceremony happen if a manageable number of students wanted to do that. But about 45% of your class prefers a December in-person graduation – which is a lot higher than we expected.
We’ve waited as long as we can to make a decision, hoping that the public health situation would improve. But it hasn’t. Even if we break it into multiple ceremonies, we don’t think we can pull off a meaningful graduation in December in the current conditions.
After taking into consideration your preferences and the public health conditions, we have decided to postpone the Winter Commencement ceremony until May 2021.
In May, we will plan to hold a big, outdoor Commencement at Sun Bowl Stadium and invite graduates from spring, summer and fall 2020 to participate.
There is a lot of planning that goes into an in-person Commencement ceremony – everything from buying regalia and bringing in outside contractors to livestream the event. We are also sensitive to the needs of students who may have family members coming from out of town for the big day.
There are other campus events – like sports – where we don’t have to decide a month in advance. As you have seen this fall, we have had to cancel games or fan attendance at games 48 hours before they started.
We don’t have the same flexibility with Commencement, so we have to make a decision now.
A year ago, my own daughter graduated from college. It was a really big deal and a wonderful day. We want to give that same experience to you and your families. I’m really sorry it won’t be in December.
When it does happen, I want to let you know, I’m going to do everything I can to make it an absolutely wonderful day.
God bless you all, and Go Miners.”