Spring 2020 Commencement
Commencement is an important recognition of a significant milestone in a student’s academic journey and allows the institution to realize its ultimate mission. Policies and practices around COVID-19 have created an unprecedented situation, and the University of Arkansas is not alone in the disruption it has created on college campuses. In consultation with leadership of the Associated Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Congress, several options were considered to provide a spring commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 given the need to social distance and avoid group gatherings. The bodies informally polled students and endorsed the idea to celebrate in December along with a web presence launched in May.
The December ceremony normally has fewer total participants than the May ceremony so there is capacity to expand the event appropriately. Also, all commencement ceremonies combine students who are graduating in various terms. For instance, a typical May commencement includes spring, summer and some previous and future fall graduates.
Planning and executing the commencement ceremony requires significant lead time. Logistically, commencement presents social distancing challenges given the way graduates are lined up for the processional and seated very close together while families sit in arena or theater style seating. Given the uncertainty about the state of the virus through Arkansas this summer and whether the public will be allowed to congregate, coupled with the fact that we have suspended face-to-face instruction through Aug. 3, as well as having canceled all summer camps and other on-campus summer activities, it was felt that it was better to defer to the fall rather than plan a ceremony only to possibly have to cancel it this summer, if conditions require doing so.
We are doing all we can to acknowledge and celebrate our graduates.
Spring 2020 graduation applicants who have not yet picked up their regalia have these options:
- If you preordered regalia that was delivered to the Bookstore it will be shipped at your request via UPS Ground free of charge — contact Mo Leghari, general manager of the U of A Bookstore.
- If you did not preorder regalia, but the Bookstore has your size in stock, it can be shipped at your request via UPS Ground free of charge — contact Mo Leghari, general manager of the U of A Bookstore.
- If the Bookstore doesn’t have your size, you can order online through until May 10, 2020. Please note that the Balfour factory, where the regalia is produced, is closed and items will ship once it reopens, possibly in the first week of May.