UW-Green Bay announces changes to Commencement plans because of rising COVID-19 cases in state

Safety of Phoenix families is top priority

Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay messaged eligible graduating seniors yesterday (July 14, 2020) with a change of plans for commencement ceremonies that were postponed from spring. While campus administrators hoped to host a traditional ceremony on campus in fall, due to the rise in COVID cases, UW-Green Bay is moving commencement to a “drive-through” experience on Saturday, August 22, 2020.

“The global pandemic has taught us many things,” said  Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Climate, Gail Sims-Aubert in a communication to seniors. “One of these lessons has been that we must remain flexible enough to accommodate best practices concerning the health and wellness of all. Keeping the safety of our graduates, families, faculty, staff, and community in mind, UW-Green Bay has taken the opportunity to reimagine Commencement.”

All seniors will be presented with a Graduation Care Package and all will have an opportunity for a professional portrait with Chancellor Mike Alexander. Students and families will be taken on a route for photo opportunities of their famous campus photo-op locations (mural, Shoe Tree, Phoenix Rising statue, etc.). Diplomas have been mailed to students this summer.

“Please know that we considered many, many scenarios for an in-person ceremony that would allow us to honor our graduates while mitigating health risks,” Sims-Aubert said in the letter. “However, given the large number of graduates who expressed interest in attending, and the increasing community spread of the virus, it is impossible for us to safely gather in August. We are as disappointed as you and your families, as we consider Commencement to be one of the best days of the year on campus. By reinventing graduation, we still get to welcome you and your loved ones safely back to campus, and most importantly, we get to celebrate your achievement!”

Despite the pandemic, UW-Green Bay, with campuses in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan, has continued on a strong enrollment trend for both summer and fall 2020. Summer student enrollment is up more than 800 students year-over-year. Fall enrollment is also up over 2019 and will likely continue to show strong growth through the first day of class in early September.



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