Webster University Announces Virtual Commencement for 2020
March 20, 2020
ST. LOUIS – Webster University has announced plans to alter its commencement for the 2020 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University-wide ceremony will now be held as a virtual commencement for the Class of 2020, while individual school and college events will be held during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend Sept 25-26, assuming gatherings of that size will be deemed safe for everyone.
The health and safety of the Webster University global community continues to be of the highest priority. These alternate plans follow recent public health recommendations to limit person-to-person contact and restrictions on large gatherings that will extend through Webster’s originally planned ceremony at The Muny theatre on May 9, 2020. Webster’s main commencement ceremony in St. Louis typically attracts 1,000 graduates and up to 10,000 guests. Each year many graduates from Webster campuses across the United States and around the world fly to St. Louis to attend this ceremony.
During the Homecoming & Alumni weekend on the main campus, each school and college event will allow 2020 graduates to congregate and walk with their fellow alumni and celebrate their accomplishments.
“At the end of each academic year, we look forward to coming together as a university community to celebrate each student’s accomplishments with family and friends.,” said Webster University Chancellor Elizabeth Stroble. “We recognize these sentiments are shared by all universities and graduates. These are hard decisions to make. We deeply appreciate the significance of the ceremonies for our graduates, as well as for our institution.”
As Webster University has for the past 100 years, it will recognize graduates for their persistence and success. While circumstances prohibit gathering together in a physical space in May, technology allows the University to unite virtually – and involve graduates from its campuses on four continents around the globe.
“Under difficult circumstances, Webster will continue to do its best to acknowledge and celebrate the success of its students,” said President Julian Z. Schuster. “These alternative ceremonies are a reflection of Webster’s student-centered values.”
The Bookstore is closed to visitors during pandemic precautions, but graduates who wish to purchase regalia (cap and gown) can contact the Bookstore at email@example.com.
As public advisories about the pandemic escalated, Webster’s Office of Special Events began exploring alternative ideas to celebrate the Class of 2020. At the same time, the Office received calls from pending graduates and families seeking guidance on their plans. The Muny also notified Webster that St. Louis City restrictions for public events prevented them hosting ceremonies as planned. Given these uncertainties, Webster began developing this alternate, virtual event, bolstered by the accompanying in person college ceremonies.
Further details regarding the 2020 Commencement Virtual Ceremony and Homecoming & Alumni Weekend events are forthcoming. Communications will be made directly with graduates and the Commencement website (webster.edu/commencement) will be updated with further information.
Over its history of 100 annual commencement ceremonies, Webster has held the event in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues – from Powell Symphony Hall and The Muny to the St. Louis Arena and the Webster University Loretto-Hilton Center. The 101st main ceremony will mark a new venue, but one accessible to the entire world as it navigates a global public health issue. We look forward to celebrating with our graduates later this year.
About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.