To Kelsay Heath, the delay of ACU’s graduation for three months has been tough to accept.
“I understand why it has to be postponed, but it still stinks that we have to wait even longer than the four years we’ve worked for it,” said Heath, senior communication major from Fruita, Colorado.
The university on Friday unveiled plans to continue online classes through the end of the semester and push Commencement from May 8-9 to Aug. 7-8 as universities, governments and businesses around the country struggle to stave off the impacts of COVID-19, the new coronavirus.
In his Friday email to students, parents and university employees, Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, also said the university is making other adjustments, including livestreaming Chapel on Wednesdays and offerings virtual tours conducted by faculty for prospective students.
ACU is among likely hundreds of academic institutions that have canceled or delayed graduations in May, and like Heath, most students have responded with a mixture of resolution and disappointment.
Logan Chapman, senior management major from Huntsville, said he recognizes the measures ACU has adopted are to protect everyone.
“Although as younger people, our risk of this being serious to our health is low,” he said, “we spread it just as easy as everyone else.”
And, although many seniors are saddened by the postponement of Commencement, some will be impacted more significantly than others.
For example, the new graduation date falls on the day of senior Alison Nies’s wedding, so she won’t be able to attend her own graduation.
“I also have the awful position of having guests/wedding party members having to choose between their own graduation and going to my wedding,” said Nies, communication disorders major from Austin. “That’s the worst part because I would love to have my friends by my side, but I can’t be selfish because they deserve to walk the stage for their accomplishments.”
Nonetheless, a common reaction among graduating seniors this semester seems to be disappointment, yet understanding.
“I do really appreciate Schubert and my professors who care about me enough to apologize for the situation and see how it hurts us,” Heath said.