SRU announces in-person spring commencement


UPDATE – MARCH 24 10:44 A.M.

Slippery Rock University has released details of the upcoming in-person commencement ceremonies.

In an email to university stakeholders, SRU announced that ceremonies will be held over two days and broken down by each college. The dates and time for the ceremonies are:

  • Graduate Studies, 6 p.m., Friday, April 30. 
  • College of Education, 9 a.m., Saturday, May 1.
  • College of Business, Noon, Saturday, May 1.
  • College of Liberal Arts, 3 p.m., Saturday, May 1.
  • College of Health, Engineering and Science, 6 p.m., Saturday, May 1.

The ceremonies will include many of the regular commencement traditions including the moving of the tassel and singing of the SRU alma mater. Graduating students will also have their names read as they walk the stage to receive their diploma covers and congratulations from the president and provost.

Two tickets will be provided to each student participating in the ceremony. If restrictions in the state change before commencement to allow more people, additional tickets will be provided.

Expecting graduates should reach out to the SGA Bookstore for information on receiving their caps, gowns and tassels.

Diplomas will be mailed to the student’s permanent address five to seven weeks after graduating.

As for the Class of 2020 that did not have an in-person graduation ceremony, the university said a ceremony for all 2020 alumni will be welcomed back to SRU for an in-person graduation ceremony during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 15-17. Details of that ceremony will be provided at a later date.

Originally published March 19 at 8:00 p.m.

Students graduating this spring at Slippery Rock University (SRU) will be walking in-person for the first time since the fall of 2019 when the university hosts its commencement ceremonies.

In an email to university stakeholders Friday afternoon, SRU President William Behre said he was “happy to share” the news that face-to-face ceremonies will be held on April 30 and May 1.

“Commencement is a very special time for the entire University community,” Behre said in the email. “I look forward to once again being able to celebrate this incredible milestone in person with our students and hope that everyone shares in my excitement.”

While details regarding times and the number of guests graduates will be able to have still need to be finalized, the university believes it will hold the events at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium to allow more people to attend while social distancing.

The decision to host commencement in-person was able to be made by looking at the data of SRU’s COVID-19 positivity rate, which has been less than 0.05% and the recent changes of the state’s guidelines regarding in-person gathering.

This week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced changes to take effect April 4 that base in-person gathering limits on a percentage of the venue’s occupancy limit and increases to sit-in dining and the resumption of bar service across the state.

SRU student Hannah Runas started a petition on in February to have the university hold commencement ceremonies in-person.

“We, and our parents, are more than willing to follow any guidelines deemed necessary to attend a live graduation in the safest way possible,” Runas said in her petition that received more than 1,100 signatures.

“We would rather sit in the rain at the stadium than receive our diplomas via Zoom,” Runas said.

SRU’s spring and fall 2020 commencements were both held virtually last year.

Students planning to graduate can expect updates on the ceremonies to be announced on SRU’s website and in their university emails.

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Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.


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