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U of M to hold virtual commencement ceremony

University President Joan Gabel said that they are still planning to have an in-person ceremony for spring graduates in the fall.
Graduation hat with degree paper on a stack of book against blurred background. (Credit: Thinkstock)

MINNEAPOLIS — It's becoming a daily struggle as educational institutions nationwide continue to adapt to provide students the best possible learning environment during the coronavirus pandemic.

High schools and colleges across the state have shifted to "distance learning" and online courses, but the University of Minnesota is taking yet another unprecedented step.

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced Friday that commencement for 2020 spring graduates will be virtual.

In a letter to university students and faculty, Gabel said that plans are currently underway for a "large, system-wide, virtual celebration" to be held on May 16.

Gabel added that they're still planning to have an in-person ceremony for spring graduates in the fall, but they won't have any details until after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

"The celebration for you, your family, and your friends will be fully online, can be viewed at any time and from any location, and will provide you with a personalized experience," said Gabel in her letter. "The theme for this spring’s celebration is “Hail to Thee,” a reference from Minnesota’s state song, and was chosen to reflect our admiration for your incredible resilience in these stressful times. More details on the virtual celebration will be shared in the coming weeks."

Many other universities and colleges throughout the state are seeking alternative options to honor graduates this spring, while some may be forced to follow in the footsteps of Concordia University, St. Paul and cancel their commencement entirely.

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