Officials ‘exploring all options’ for in-person commencement components in May

Media Credit: File Photo by Jack Fonseca | Senior Staff Photographer

LeBlanc said Provost Brian Blake will convene a group of administrators and student leaders to examine the feasibility of in-person and hybrid components to the May Commencement ceremony during the “next few weeks."

University President Thomas LeBlanc announced Thursday that GW will be exploring some in-person and hybrid options for the 2021 commencement celebrations.

Administrators said in October – in conjunction with announcing an online spring semester – that they did not anticipate being able to hold Commencement on the National Mall or the GW campus in May as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A University-wide Commencement ceremony is scheduled for May 16, in addition to virtual or hybrid celebrations scheduled during the prior week.

“While we continue to plan virtual University-wide Commencement and school celebrations, we also are exploring all options for any in-person component we may safely host,” LeBlanc said in an email to the GW community.

LeBlanc said Provost Brian Blake will convene a group of administrators and student leaders to examine the feasibility of in-person and hybrid components to the May commencement celebrations during the “next few weeks,” according to the email.

Officials will also consult with community leaders as well as public health and safety experts throughout the event planning process, LeBlanc said.

In March, officials said the Class of 2020 – whose in-person Commencement was held virtually – would be invited to the 2021 Commencement. The move came after a petition elicited more than 6,600 signatures to reschedule last year’s event on the National Mall.

LeBlanc said the GW community can expect another update on the specifics of commencement plans by mid-March.

“While the challenges of the pandemic are not yet over, we have reasons to be optimistic this year,” he said. “We are confident that we will find innovative ways to celebrate our graduates, and we are committed to considering all options for an in-person component.”

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