Eastern cancels fall graduation ceremony

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

Eastern will once again be unable to hold the commencement ceremony, canceling the graduation that was meant to occur in December 2020. The decision to not hold graduation in person was made to adhere to the guidelines set in Illinois to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This comes after the cancellation of the spring commencement ceremony back in May.

At Eastern, commencement is one of the most exciting and memorable events of the year for both Eastern graduates and their families. Eastern usually hosts two annual commencements, with one ceremony at the end of the fall semester and the other at the end of the spring semester.

Everything changed when the graduation all seniors anxiously expect every semester came to a sudden end in March of last semester, when Eastern President David Glassman announced the cancellation of the May commencement ceremony.

Graduation was canceled as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that was just beginning to rapidly spread in the United States. Because graduation was canceled then, Eastern offered the opportunity for May 2020 graduates to walk the stage in December 2020. Eastern, as well as its students, hoped that by then graduation could be held as it normally would.

Since then, COVID-19 has not shown any sign of going away any time soon.

Glassman’s statement said that Eastern recognizes that its seniors have worked hard for their degrees and that they may be disappointed to hear that there will not be a commencement ceremony this semester, and that Eastern hopes to recognize the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 in other ways, including through a virtual celebration on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Though they will not be having a regular commencement ceremony, all eligible Fall 2020 graduates will still be receiving their Eastern diplomas, diploma covers, graduation programs and, as appropriate, honors medallions.

Graduates will be receiving all those items in the mail shortly after the end of the semester as long as they met all the university and programmatic requirements. Eastern will have those mailed approximately six weeks after grades for the Fall 2020 semester are finalized.

Even though the ceremony will not be held as normal, graduates may still order caps and gowns if they would like to use them for photos or family events. Graduates can order those caps and gowns, which will be shipped directly to their homes, through Herff Jones.

Eastern also wants students to fill out a form that will allow it to stay connected to students. The purpose of the form is to keep students informed with graduation related news and updates, including keeping them updated on plans for the May 2021 commencement ceremony.

Filling out the form, which can be found on Eastern’s EIU Commencement webpage, will also allow graduates to receive their diplomas.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]