WACO, TX — Baylor University today announced the cancellation of in-person graduation ceremonies for August 2020 graduates Aug. 14-15 due to a surge in cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 across Texas and the nation.
In its place, the University will host a virtual ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 15, to honor its May and August graduates.
“Celebrating our graduates in person would have been a wonderful symbol of their resilience and our deep love and appreciation for them,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “Our Commencement planning team had been working diligently to create a safe, socially distanced ceremony in Baylor’s McLane Stadium, but now is not a time to be led by our hearts. Even with the best planning that followed all of the guidance from the CDC, state officials and our local public health experts, the risk is much too great. We must do the responsible thing and make the decision that protects the health and well-being of our students, their families, loved ones and friends, and our local community.”
McLennan County continues to report more than 150 new cases daily, while many areas across the state are considered national “hot spots” for COVID-19.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott began rolling back re-opening guidelines, and the City of Waco has limited gatherings to groups of 10 or fewer in an active effort to stem the tide of COVID-19 cases.
The University’s virtual graduation event will be hosted on Facebook Live beginning at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15 and will feature musical performances, remarks from academic leadership, and words of encouragement and hope from President Livingstone.
Following the remarks, at approximately 10:45 a.m., the names of the August graduates will be presented on the video board in the south endzone of McLane Stadium and also broadcast as part of the Facebook Live event.
Graduates who were initially scheduled to participate in either the May or August ceremonies are invited to participate in any future ceremony that fits their schedule.
Information will be sent to graduates via email in the near future.
To celebrate their achievement, graduates also will receive by mail a custom diploma presentation cover, a commemorative green and gold 2020 tassel and a printed keepsake program listing their names among those presented for graduation.
Today’s announcement does not affect the revised commencement plans for Baylor’s School of Law, which will have two small ceremonies for graduates only at Waco Hall.
Social distancing measures and face coverings will be required for this modified indoor event.