On April 8, President Greg Salsbury made the following announcement to the Western community regarding revised plans for Commencement, which had originally been scheduled for May 9:
Commencement is a special milestone—for Western graduates and their families, and for faculty, staff and the broader Western community who celebrate our students’ achievements and progress toward future success and happiness.
The cancellation of our original May 9th event has led us to talk and think about the nature of commencement. We certainly want to commemorate our students’ achievement as soon as they earn it, and later this spring we will mark this moment by mailing graduates their diplomas. But we also want to celebrate collectively as a Western family.
As you may know, we directly asked graduating students for their input on a revised commencement date. Based on that feedback, I now announce we are rescheduling Commencement 2020 for 10 am Saturday, September 26, 2020, at Mountaineer Bowl here on the Western Colorado University campus. This date will allow us to celebrate in person in Gunnison, at the peak of fall foliage season. Though this option was overwhelmingly preferred by student-survey respondents to other options, we knew that any date we chose might prove inconvenient or frustrating to some. We tried to make the best choice we could under the circumstances.
This September Commencement will have all the pomp and circumstance of a typical May ceremony, with speakers, individual honoring of each undergraduate and graduate-program honoree, and a post-ceremony reception. Some graduate programs may host their own virtual commencements this spring, and would reach out to relevant students on that front—in any case, we emphatically encourage our graduate program graduates to join us also on September 26.
Despite the near-term uncertainty of coronavirus and evolving travel and lodging rules, we remain hopeful that by Fall Semester we’ll have resumed normal campus operations. We certainly will remain vigilant to situational changes that may warrant further adaptation for a Fall Commencement. On a bright note, airfare is cheaper than it’s been in years; check your carrier for flight-change and refund criteria. You can try booking lodging now, though we will follow up later this spring as circumstances become clearer for local lodgers.
Anyone who cannot attend September 26 will be invited to join next year’s graduates at Western’s May 2021 Commencement. Students who already bought caps, gowns, and tassels who cannot attend may contact Teri Haus at 970-943-7195 for refund/return info, as well as book buy-back info.
We are all in this together. September 26, I hope you join me as we walk together.