In an email sent to those graduating in spring 2020 on April 27, the University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes officially announced a virtual celebration to honor graduates.
The celebration will take place on Saturday, May 30 at 9 a.m, with more details expected to come later this week from the Office of the University Secretary. The email added that a virtual commencement does not replace an in-person one, so spring 2020 graduates will be invited to walk at a later commencement ceremony.
“To say that a virtual celebration is an imperfect solution would be an enormous understatement—and believe me, I’m as upset as you are that we won’t be celebrating your new degree in person, in a crowded Dreamstyle Arena (Pit) filled with family and friends,” Stokes said in the email. “Commencement is a life experience, a genuine rite of passage—and as such, it truly cannot be experienced virtually.”
The announcement follows a survey sent out to all spring 2020 graduates asking about possible commencement options. The survey asked participants about potential participation in a virtual graduation ceremony, a delayed ceremony in August and being part of a future commencement ceremony.
The April 27 email said that uncertainty about the situation in August made the possibility of a ceremony during that time a poor option.
Stokes announced the postponement of the spring 2020 graduation commencement ceremonies on March 24. New Mexico State University (NMSU) announced its plan to hold a virtual ceremony for spring 2020 graduates later that week on March 26.
NMSU’s virtual graduation ceremony, to be premiered on May 16, will be an edited virtual commencement video including names and photos of graduates that RSVP to the ceremony. It was planned to mimic a traditional commencement, according to NMSU Vice President for Student Sucess Renay Scott.
UNM has yet to announce what its virtual graduation will look like.
Makayla Grijalva is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MakaylaEliboria