Commencement will again be something to celebrate in a gathering.
After polling students, the university decided on in-person diploma ceremonies in May
In another sign of a return to normalcy, Case Western Reserve University will hold limited in-person commencement ceremonies beginning May 16.
The decision came after a poll of graduating seniors and graduate students found that more than half would “definitely” attend live events and another 21 percent said they would “probably” be there.
University leaders also expressed encouragement in the accelerating rates of vaccinations and lowered prevalence of Covid-19 in the region and on campus. The positivity rate on campus, where testing is widespread, has steadily decreased since January and in March dipped below 0.5%, interim President Scott Cowen reported to staff and faculty.
“Like many of you, we treasure the tradition of graduates coming together to celebrate their achievements and receive the diplomas they worked so hard to earn,” Cowen said in a March 19 email to hopeful graduates. “We were glad to read that so many of you felt similar sentiments.”
Still, the university intends to continue precautions, including physical distancing. Instead of a mass gathering, there will be several smaller ceremonies for specific schools and colleges. Also, attendance will be limited to the graduates themselves and select faculty and staff.
Cowen expressed regret that parents will not be allowed to attend. All events will take place on Freiberger Field and will be livestreamed so family and friends can watch them unfold in real time. Here are more details:
• Plans call for in-person graduation ceremonies for schools awarding professional or graduate degrees, including the Case School of Engineering
• The first two ceremonies, for law and medicine, will take place on Sunday, May 16.
• Undergraduate ceremonies, including those for engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, will take place on Sunday, May 30
• The remaining schools’ diploma ceremonies will happen on the preceding Friday and Saturday (May 28-29)
• The university cautions that public health conditions could force plans to change.