By L. Kincaid Holmes

Principia’s 2020 Senior Commencement and awards, originally scheduled for May 16, has been officially moved to Homecoming Weekend, Oct.16-17, Interim President John Williams wrote in a Watercooler announcement tonight.

“Graduation from college is one of the most important transitions in our lives,” wrote Williams in a sentimental riff about the specialness of his own Principia graduation.

“Principia College will not cancel Commencement,” he wrote. 

“Because of the health, legal, and practical circumstances, we will not have Commencement in May. We will postpone College Commencement activities … to coincide with the College’s Homecoming activities.” 

Uncertainties about how seniors could – or would – celebrate graduation had swirled, as they have in colleges and universities nationwide, since the announcement of campus closure.  

From the final student gathering in Cox on March 26 to the first virtual student town hall meeting March 31, the administration had indicated it was working to reschedule the date for seniors to finally be able to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.

Seniors received a survey from Student Government on March 26 asking for their preferred time for a rescheduled graduation. The survey included a single question about preferences: in-person graduation in the fall (September most likely), in person graduation next Spring during the normal graduation time, online graduation in May, or “other” with space for specification.

The poll was clear, noted Williams, with “overwhelming desire” for live, in-person ceremonies. “Though we didn’t ask, a number of seniors (athletes, of course!) and parents specifically suggested Homecoming Week,” Williams wrote. 

Now, scheduled for a crowded Blue and Gold weekend, questions still surround this new graduation plan.

  • What will the housing be for the seniors graduating?
  • How will students unable to attend due to work conflict, etc. be acknowledged?
  • Can the campus and community handle such an influx of alumni, students, friends, family and others?

These questions and others can be addressed during the weekly virtual town hall meeting which will be held tomorrow (Tuesday April 7) at 4:30 p.m. CST.  

•Feature photo at top: Principia College graduation May 2019. By Bishoppe Kamusinga