Oregon State University postpones commencement ceremonies

Coronavirus

“This was not an easy decision to make.”

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the midst of the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, Oregon State University has officially postponed its 2020 commencement ceremonies.

The university made the announcement on Thursday morning that it is postponing commencement ceremonies in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades in Bend until a later date. They say the ceremonies could possibly take place in the fall.

This decision was reached after a survey went out to students, asking for their thoughts on how to handle the upcoming graduation. The university said there was overwhelming support for postponement. More than 2,500 students who are on track to graduate responded to the survey, 66% of which supported rescheduling commencement to a later date while 24% supported holding a virtual ceremony and 10% supported cancelling commencement altogether. The majority of OSU-Cascades students agreed with the decision, with 76% of 713 surveyed students saying they would prefer rescheduling.

The decision is in accordance with Governor Kate Brown’s stay-home order and social distancing measures. However, that does not mean the school made this decision lightly, according to OSU’s president.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” OSU President Ed Ray said. “OSU commencement is a tradition that was begun 150 years ago with three students and now celebrates the distinguished achievements of more than 7,000 graduates annually, and is attended by more than 25,000 guests and university faculty and staff. Yet, postponing commencement to a healthier time is the right choice and is strongly supported by our students. And this decision acknowledges that OSU has never cancelled commencement in its history.”

OSU is the first university in the state to postpone their graduation activities. Others are expected to follow.

KOIN 6 News will continue to update this story.

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