Spring semester commencement postponed; two options planned

Dear WSU Students:

I’m writing today to let you know that—after long and careful deliberation—we have made the very difficult decision to postpone traditional May commencement ceremonies until at least August at all of our campuses.

In an effort to replicate this joyous occasion as best we can in light of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we will schedule two opportunities to celebrate the achievements of our new graduates:

  • Each campus will reschedule an in‑person commencement celebration on a date to be determined. WSU Pullman commencement exercises are now scheduled for August 8, and the other campuses will announce dates soon.
  • On May 9, we will hold our first system‑wide commencement online. I welcome your ideas about how to make this a meaningful ceremony for our new graduates. Please send your suggestions directly to me.

We fully understand the disappointment you feel about the turn of events that has disrupted spring semester. Commencement is without doubt one of the most cherished moments in the lives of new graduates and their loved ones.

But protecting the health of our community remains the top priority in all of our decisions during this time. Given the current state restriction prohibiting large gatherings and the likelihood this restriction will continue for some time, we have made the soundest decision possible. Our approach reflects the desires of both students who prefer a graduation ceremony during the traditional May time period and those who wish to experience the pomp and circumstance of an in‑person event.

Participating in commencement with the WSU community is one of the favorite parts of my job. I look forward to shaking hands with graduates, hearing many enthusiastic “Go Cougs,” and watching graduates and families record the moment for posterity. While we may have to postpone those moments this spring, we are committed to celebrating this milestone in the near future. As Cougs, we’ll get through the current situation, together.

I look forward to congratulating all of our new graduates twice—online in May and in person later. Please watch for additional details about these ceremonies in the coming weeks.

COVID‑19 town hall

11:00 a.m., Friday, March 27
Online at experience.wsu.edu

Submit question in advance 


I would be happy to answer your questions about commencement or other COVID‑19 related issues on Friday. Joining me will be Provost Bryan Slinker, Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales, and Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Theresa Elliot‑Cheslek.


Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University