September 16, 2020
For those of you who are planning to graduate this December, I write with an update on our plans to honor you as graduates of the University of Oklahoma. As we planned for our return to campus this fall, included in our work was the determination of the COVID-19 capacity limits for all campus classrooms, spaces, and venues. With these capacity guidelines in place for the rest of the fall semester, we unfortunately will not be able to host traditional in-person Convocation ceremonies this December.
We understand this news will disappoint many of you and your families. We are, however, developing a virtual graduation ceremony for our December graduates, building on the success of last May’s virtual Commencement ceremony. Our December virtual graduation ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 18. Please continue reading to learn about one of the new ways that will help make this a unique experience to your academic journey. In addition to the virtual graduation, you also are invited to participate in our University-wide in-person Commencement ceremony in May 2021.
The virtual graduation ceremony will have many of the same components of a live ceremony, which you and your guests will view online. We will again offer graduates the opportunity to have an individual recognition slide created, which will debut online during the virtual ceremony and can be shared with others electronically or on social media. This time, we are introducing an additional opportunity for participation. At the upcoming Graduation Gear-Up event, a physical replica of the OU graduation stage will be available for you to walk across while your name is called. We will provide you with a photo and video clip of your walk across the stage, which you can include in your individual recognition slide to be displayed during the virtual ceremony.
Graduation Gear-Up is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 29, through Thursday, October 1, in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. To facilitate social distancing, this year students must make an appointment for Graduation Gear-Up – be watching your email for a registration link from University Events.
More details about our December virtual graduation ceremony, along with other opportunities for participation, will be available soon at ou.edu/commencement.
I know that celebrating your graduation in this unconventional way is less than ideal, but we are making every effort to celebrate you and your accomplishments. As soon-to-be OU alumni, you are reaching this milestone under unique circumstances, but this only elevates our pride in your achievements. Your response to the pandemic illustrates your remarkable Sooner Spirit, forever solidifying your place as a member of our OU alumni family.
Live On, University,
Joseph Harroz, Jr.