Longwood Commencement 2020 canceled

Published 6:00 am Friday, September 18, 2020

Longwood University’s Commencement 2020 that was postponed from May to Oct. 9 and 10 has now been canceled.

Matt McWilliams

“The Class of 2020, whose May Commencement exercises had been postponed, was informed that the ceremony we had hoped to hold Oct. 9 and 10 has been canceled in light of our continuing responsibility to public health and continuing state and local restrictions on gatherings,” Longwood’s Assistant Vice President of Communications Matt McWilliams wrote. “This is disappointing news for the Class of 2020, which has been through much upheaval at what should be a joyous time of celebrations and new beginnings, and which has deeply desired an occasion to celebrate this fall.”

McWilliams said the decision to cancel the traditional graduation ceremony was not arrived at lightly.

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“We do know some members of the class have had longstanding plans to be in Farmville over that weekend, and we let the class know that even though a gathering in the traditional manner is not possible, we will continue working with them to see if there is an appropriate way — subject to public health conditions and in line with state and local guidance/restrictions — for small groups of graduates and their families to mark the occasion that weekend.”

W. Taylor Reveley IV

In April, Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV announced that the Class of 2020 would hold a traditional ceremony in October.

“I promised last month that the Class of 2020 would walk for in-person graduation,” Reveley said in an April interview. “We have been working with government officials and campus and community leaders to identify a date as soon as possible that is also as reliable as can be.”

At that time students were continuing classes via online learning since the campus closed to in-person instruction after two students tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

In that same interview Reveley made clear the uncertainty of the October plans.

“No one can predict exactly what the weeks and months ahead in this historic and challenging time may hold, but I am in regular touch with the other Virginia college presidents and state officials as we begin preparing for a return to normalcy,” he said. “It may require us to do some things differently on campus, at least for a while, including additional steps to protect public health.”