March 25, 2020
Spring semester commencement postponed; two options planned
Dear WSU Students:
I’m writing today to let you know that—after long and
careful deliberation—we have made the very difficult decision to
postpone traditional May commencement ceremonies until at least August
at all of our campuses.
In an effort to replicate this joyous occasion as best we can in
light of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we will schedule two opportunities
to celebrate the achievements of our new graduates:
- Each campus will reschedule an in‑person commencement
celebration on a date to be determined. WSU Pullman commencement
exercises are now scheduled for August 8, and the other campuses
will announce dates soon.
- On May 9, we will hold our first system‑wide commencement
online. I welcome your ideas about how to make this a meaningful ceremony
for our new graduates. Please send your suggestions directly to me.
We fully understand the disappointment you feel about the turn of events
that has disrupted spring semester. Commencement is without doubt one of
the most cherished moments in the lives of new graduates and their loved
But protecting the health of our community remains the top
priority in all of our decisions during this time. Given the current
state restriction prohibiting large gatherings and the likelihood this
restriction will continue for some time, we have made the
soundest decision possible. Our approach reflects the desires of both
students who prefer a graduation ceremony during the traditional May
time period and those who wish to experience the pomp and circumstance
of an in‑person event.
Participating in commencement with the WSU community is one of
the favorite parts of my job. I look forward to shaking hands with
graduates, hearing many enthusiastic “Go Cougs,” and
watching graduates and families record the moment for posterity. While
we may have to postpone those moments this spring, we are committed to
celebrating this milestone in the near future. As Cougs, we’ll
get through the current situation, together.
I look forward to congratulating all of our seniors twice—online
in May and in person later. Please watch for additional details about
these ceremonies in the coming weeks.