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GTU Creating Online Celebration for Grads in May 2020
March 25, 2020 – Berkeley, CA As part of the continuing effort to keep the community healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19, the Graduate Theological Union has announced that it is canceling its 2020 Commencement Exercises and will instead focus its efforts on crafting a celebratory experience that GTU graduates and their families and friends can enjoy remotely. The decision was announced by Interim President Uriah Kim and Board Chair Susan Cook Hoganson in a letter to GTU students on March 24, 2020. While acknowledging the disappointment that may accompany this announcement, the letter emphasized that, in making decisions about commencement and other campus activities, “our guiding light has been working to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, while also mitigating inevitable disruptions to the greatest extent possible.”
The GTU will make use of available technologies to highlight students’ accomplishments through a variety of digital and video modalities. A dedicated planning team will work closely with students, advisors, and faculty to curate the content, which the GTU hopes to make available by mid-May. In addition, 2020 graduates and their loved ones will be invited to attend and participate in next year’s Commencement Exercises. The GTU hopes that as many students as possible will be able to take part in an even more robust and celebratory gathering in 2021.
Kim and Hoganson concluded their letter to students with a reminder of the important role that the GTU and its graduates can play in moving through these uncertain days: “Now, more than ever, our world is in dire need of voices like those of our graduates to help guide it through an unprecedented moment in modern history, and we look forward to celebrating these voices in creative ways as we look ahead to May.”