Students persevere to graduation through coronavirus pandemic


HARRISBURG, Pa. – Despite an ongoing global pandemic that's led to disruption in daily life, Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education universities plan to honor in a variety of ways the graduating Class of 2020.

While tradition would be for indoor or outdoor in-person commencement ceremonies, institutions made changes to protect their campus communities and adhere to health and safety guidelines authored by Gov. Tom Wolf's administration.

“These graduating students in so many ways are pioneers, demonstrating an inspired resiliency that will serve them in the years ahead," said Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “Even an event as disrupting as the coronavirus pandemic could not stop them from persevering and completing their education. Their example inspires all of us."

Chancellor Greenstein recorded a message for all Spring 2020 graduates of State System universities, and it can be viewed by clicking here.

The Chancellor also praised faculty, staff, and leadership for their tenacity, creativity, and perseverance through the pandemic response.

“We have thousands of new graduates entering the next phase of their lives this weekend, and this was made possible because of the monumental, heroic effort of the entire State System community," he said. “Transitioning mid-semester into a different mode of instruction may have been the right and necessary measure to take to keep everyone safe, and we proved to ourselves and to the Commonwealth our ability to be nimble and to adapt so our students could successfully complete the semester."

Bloomsburg rescheduled commencement to an August ceremony while Indiana rescheduled for September. Graduates of California, Clarion, and East Stroudsburg are invited to participate in Winter Commencement events, and Cheyney, Edinboro, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester are in the process of assessing when commencement can be rescheduled.

To learn more, graduating students should contact their individual universities.

“What gives me hope for Pennsylvania and for our eventual comeback from these challenging times are the graduates of the Class of 2020," said Cindy Shapira, chair of the State System Board of Governors. “From among these thousands of new graduates will come leaders in sectors like health care, business, education, and so many others, and Pennsylvanians everywhere can be confident in the future of the Commonwealth. I hope every graduate will find a way, whether great or small, to contribute to a better Pennsylvania in the months and years ahead."

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 95,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.​​​

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