App State announces a virtual commencement in May

Moss Brennan, Editor in Chief

This story has been updated with additional information. 

App State has officially announced Friday that May’s commencement will be virtual. May graduates will have the option to participate in the December 2020 commencement.

“There are many details to work out, but please know my leadership team and I are committed to preserving, to the greatest extent possible, the essence of the celebrations and milestones of the final weeks of the Spring semester, including commencement,” Chancellor Sheri Everts wrote in an email sent to students. “We don’t know exactly what that will look like, but we are working hard on virtual solutions.”

The move comes after UNC System President Bill Roper said there is a “increasing likelihood that spring graduation ceremonies will be disrupted” at a special Board of Governors meeting Friday. He said university chancellors will make plans for their respective university on how to celebrate commencement.

ECU has also moved toa virtual commencement ceremony for May, but there are discussions for an in-person event later in the year for ECU, according to WITN.com.

“Many of us have loved ones who are attending other UNC System institutions. We find ourselves comparing methods and messages,” Everts wrote. “Your university administrators are in regular contact with their counterparts across the system and in the System Office. We are following System guidance together and applying it to our campuses in the ways that make the most sense for each of our situations.”

Everts also made the following announcement in her campus wide email:

  • 160 students who met the criteria to stay on campus will remain in their residence halls. Residence halls have been thoroughly cleaned, and only residents are allowed in the buildings.
  • Reduced staffing for facilities means the university is operating under limited capacities. Academic classroom and office buildings, the student union, and university libraries are keeping their core services available, but some buildings will be key-or card-access only.
  • Dining facilities are on a reduced schedule, and takeout only.
  • Faculty and students, who are accustomed to face-to-face interaction, will be teaching and learning online.

“It has taken tremendous effort on the part of our faculty to make this move and they have proven yet again to be selfless and adaptive professionals,” Everts wrote about online classes. “It will not be a seamless transition, and as we work out the kinks together, it will be important to be patient and recognize we are all working alongside one another to provide the best possible academic experience for our students.”

Everts said the university will continue to send emails with updates and changes. Those can also be found on the App State coronavirus website.

“Our Mountaineer resiliency is being tested. We will continue to rise to these challenge,” Everts wrote. “Your resourcefulness, ingenuity and hope bolster the entire Appalachian Community as we find our way, and I am encouraged by your determination and creativity.”