Shippensburg University’s spring class of 2020 will get to celebrate its graduation in a modified in-person ceremony to make up for the postponement of the traditional May ceremony because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Despite setbacks caused by the coronavirus, SU announced Monday that it will hold three in-person commencement ceremonies July 31 and Aug. 1.
The ceremonies will follow guidelines provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and federal government, officials said in the announcement.
“Although we cannot offer handshakes of congratulations when we see you, we are excited to welcome you back to campus, cheer you on as you walk across the commencement stage, and share our pride with you as you set sail on your next voyage,” the announcement said.
The graduate student ceremony is scheduled for July 31 at 6:30 p.m., while there are two undergraduate ceremonies scheduled for Aug. 1. College of Arts and Sciences graduates will walk at 10 a.m. while a combined ceremony honoring graduates of the John L. Grove College of Business and College of Education and Human Services is at 3 p.m.
However, this commencement will be different from the school's typical ceremony. The ceremony will be an “on-campus drive-up commencement,” according to the announcement.
Graduates must RSVP to receive their ticket and are limited to one vehicle of supporters that fits in a standard parking space.
According to SU, graduates and guests should arrive at the parking lot for their scheduled ceremony at least 15 minutes before the program. Parking lots will open an hour before the ceremony.
Graduates should check in at the hospitality tent for viewing and participation instructions. Officials will direct graduates to the correct parking space.
Cars will be parked in every other space to maintain 6 feet of social distance. In order to attend commencement, graduates will be required to wear a mask. SU will provide masks for those who do not have one.
While a traditional handshake will not be a part of the ceremony, graduates will stand outside their cars while SU President Laurie Carter confers the degrees and will move their tassels. Then students will be directed to line up for the processional where they will walk, receive their scroll and have a photo taken.
Ship.edu, local Comcast Cable Channel 21 and WSYC will broadcast ceremonies for visitors who cannot attend. For more information about the commencement ceremonies, visit ship.edu/events/graduation/commencement_ceremony/.