Austin College President Steven P. O’Day announced today the postponement of the August 8-9 Commencement weekend for the Class of 2020. College leadership selected August 9 as the alternate date this spring when it became clear the traditional May Commencement exercises would not be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. Today, President O’Day announced the decision to postpone the ceremony to an as-yet-unknown date.
“The College’s senior leadership reached this difficult decision after extensive deliberation and diligent monitoring of public health data and recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” O’Day said. “We had to accept that holding Commencement weekend in August is neither feasible nor wise. “
Members of the Class of 2020 have been polled regarding possible dates for the Commencement.
The Commencement ceremony usually involves more than 4,000 people. Because of mandated reductions of group gatherings, the August ceremony was to be limited to only four guests per student to accommodate social distancing. That group could still include some 1,700 people, the majority coming from outside the local area.
“Ultimately, this decision is made to help ensure the health and safety of our graduates, their families, and our campus community,” President O’Day said. “We are very disappointed not to be able to celebrate with our 2020 graduates. The staff and faculty of the college are very proud of their accomplishments and we want the opportunity to applaud them.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.