Undergraduate ceremonies set for Saturday, May 1, with graduate school events to follow Sunday, May 2.
In a fitting culmination to a year in which the university excelled in delivering on-campus, in-seat instruction despite a global pandemic, William Woods University (WWU) will hold a series of traditional, in-person commencement ceremonies on campus during the weekend of May 1-2, 2021.
To ensure compliance with all local health guidelines, the weekend will include seven ceremonies – the three undergraduate ceremonies at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, and four graduate school ceremonies at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 2. All events will take place inside McNutt Auditorium at William Woods, where each graduate may invite two guests to attend. Commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed for family and friends unable to attend in person. Attendees will be required to wear face coverings, and will be seated in a physically-distanced arrangement. McNutt Auditorium will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between each ceremony.
The university’s historic spring Ivy Ceremony, a commencement tradition at WWU for decades, will begin festivities on campus on Friday, April 30.
Undergraduate commencement addresses will be delivered on May 1 by Dr. Thomas Trice, Associate Professor of Business (9 a.m. commencement); Dr. Paul Schiltz, Associate Professor of Equestrian and university veterinarian (11 a.m.) and Dr. Stephanie Wells, Professor of English (1 p.m.). Graduate school commencement addresses on May 2 include Dr. Timothy Hanrahan, Associate Professor of Physical Education (9 a.m. commencement); Dr. Miriam O’Callaghan, Assistant Professor of Management (11 a.m.); Dr. Charlotte Miller, Assistant Professor of Education (1 p.m.), and Dr. John Long, Associate Professor of Education (3 p.m.).
“We are beyond pleased to be able to hold our traditional commencement exercises to celebrate our graduates and their families in a safe and physically-distanced manner,” said President Barnett. “The determination, discipline and flexibility of our entire campus community have made it possible for us to withstand this year of health and safety challenges; our 2021 commencement ceremonies are a culmination of those extraordinary efforts.”
During the 2020-2021 academic year, William Woods succeeded in holding on-campus, in-person instruction for the entire year with relatively minimal incidence of positive COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff. The university held events such as the Fall Ivy Ceremony, intercollegiate athletic competition, and equestrian events in addition to classes, and also avoided having to lay-off or furlough university employees. “Our response to the complexities of navigating COVID-19 has truly been one of William Woods University’s finest hours,” said President Barnett. “There is no better way to conclude this historic year than by holding traditional commencement ceremonies responsibly on our campus.”