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Westminster College 2021 Commencement ceremony during a pandemic

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2020 Commencement

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.  Westminster College’s Commencement ceremony will be held on Sat. May 8, 2021. Commencement will operate differently than in previous years due to pandemic restrictions. 


All provisional graduates, including those who were virtual learners, can participate in Commencement. There will be two separate ceremonies. Graduates can only attend the ceremony for their school, such as business and communicationThe graduate and their guests’ seats will only be available during their school’s ceremony. There will not be a formal procession onto the South Lawn to ensure the health and safety of graduates. The graduate’s ticket will have a seat number and should be taken no later than 15 minutes before the ceremony. 


Each graduate will get a ticket for a seat on the South Lawn or Orr Auditorium. They will receive four blue tickets for guests to view the ceremony on the South Lawn and two white tickets if the ceremony is in Orr Auditorium due to poor weatherThe tickets have an assigned seat number on them so that social distancing can be kept. Replacement and additional tickets are not available. 


Gary Swanson, WCN Operations Manager, said, “Both ceremonies will be live streamed on Their crew will consist of six underclass students. Seniors Sam Craig, Hayley McGuigan, Ethan and Zane Hamill, all who have worked the last several live commencement broadcasts, will be wearing caps and gowns this year. Broadcast crew members have to follow strict COVID guidelines, and plan weeks in advance for the live coverage. Two broadcast locations need to be fully wired and ready to go in case inclement weather forces them to move from the South Lawn outside of Old Main to Orr Auditorium.” 


I will say that all of your commencement activities are organized to comply with CDC and Commonwealth requirements. So, we really wanted [students] to have that experience crossing senior terrace because that is so important to Westminster tradition. We wanted [students] to be able to get [their] diploma cover from President Richardson. We wanted [students] to be able to hear [their] name called. So, we are going to try to honor as many of those traditions as we possibly can. We can’t do it all together unfortunately because of occupancy limitations imposed by the Commonwealth. So that is why we’re splitting [students] into halves. And for those of you who are double majors, we are going to align you to the ceremony of your first major. I wish I could do that differently and we were all almost 300 of us together but that’s not going to be the way we are able to do it safely in compliance with the Commonwealth. So I appreciate your patience. I appreciate your compliance with that. I appreciate you doing that one more time with your Titan spirit, Dean Jamie McMinn said. 


The first ceremony is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. which will include the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Business, Communication, Education and Music. The second ceremony is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. which will include the Schools of Life & Health Sciences, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Social Sciences; Graduate School and Individual Interdisciplinary Majors. 

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