The University of Oklahoma will further postpone in-person commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020, it announced in a news release Tuesday.
The decision to push the ceremony back from August reportedly was out of concern for attendees’ exposure to heat at a lengthy outdoor event like the one planned for Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The class of 2020’s ceremony had already been pushed back from May amid the COVID-19 pandemic. OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. said in a news release that though the university has had a virtual ceremony, its goal remains a “meaningful” in-person commencement.
“After much deliberation, it has become clear that even though the event could be conducted safely if it were held outdoors, hosting such an event in August would simply not be an experience worthy of our graduates and those they love,” Harroz said.
“The postponement of our in-person May Commencement was already one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make, and postponing it further is even harder.
“But to host an outdoor event during the hottest time of the year with mask requirements in place would be unfair to many, especially family members who would have to endure a lengthy ceremony in the summer heat.”
A shorter outdoor ceremony to alleviate heat-related concerns reportedly was considered but ultimately was abandoned because it would not have included reading graduates’ names and other staples of commencement events.
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