UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dwight Watson addresses graduating students on Facebook Live on May 16, 2020.


UW-Whitewater on Monday announced plans to have 2021 graduates walk across the stage this spring, but loved ones will not be allowed to attend because of coronavirus safety precautions.

The plan calls for graduating students to have the chance to walk across the stage and have their names read during a video-recorded ceremony Friday, May 14.

The full video will then be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, “allowing graduates to watch it with their friends and family members,” according to the university announcement.

“We know from students and their families that crossing the stage is a powerful and emotional moment in the academic journey,” Chancellor Dwight Watson said in the announcement. “Our Warhawks have worked to achieve this important milestone under remarkably difficult circumstances. We are happy to offer our graduates the opportunity to take this important step in person.”

The video-recorded ceremony will let students cross the stage at either Young Auditorium or Kachel Fieldhouse. Caps and gowns will be worn but so will masks, according to the announcement.

That ceremony itself, which will also feature social distancing, is for 2021 graduates only—although photographers will be present as students cross the stage. Students will be contacted with their specific time and location.

The university is expecting about 1,775 students from the campuses in Whitewater and Rock County to participate.

Perkins Stadium would have been considered as an option for an outdoor ceremony, but it is being renovated this spring and summer, according to the announcement.

UW-Madison has a similar commencement plan this spring, with graduates attending a ceremony in Camp Randall Stadium and families and friends only allowed to watch virtually.

UW-Whitewater held virtual graduation ceremonies last spring and winter without an in-person component.

The recorded 2021 graduation video will be available after it airs May 15.


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