WILMINGTON — Wilmington College will hold its 144th Commencement June 6 either in-person or online for the 280 seniors comprising the Class of 2020.
The mode for the ceremony is pending the state’s status regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations regarding social gatherings and physical distancing.
President Jim Reynolds said the College delayed until recently a decision regarding its annual graduation ceremony — which was originally scheduled for May 9 — until the picture became clearer.
Initially, Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety asked the state’s colleges and universities to suspend face-to-face classes and other campus gatherings for two weeks through the end of March, which was followed with the governor’s stay-at-home directive for the month of April.
Both Wilmington College’s main campus and its Cincinnati site, like most of the Ohio’s higher education institutions, are completing the spring term with online classes.
The semester ends May 5.
The College conducted a survey of graduating seniors, who overwhelmingly expressed a desire to have an in-person ceremony — if at all possible. Also, nearly 80 percent indicated they would be available to attend such a ceremony June 6.
“Of course, this is predicated on the State of Ohio lifting the stay-at-home order and letting large gatherings take place by that time,” Reynolds said. “If that does not happen, we will still hold our official Commencement ceremony June 6, but will conduct it using the video conferencing technology available to us.”
College officials, who are concurrently making plans for both in-person and online ceremonies, eagerly await learning the state’s position on gatherings and expect to be able to make a final decision no later than May 20.