Asbury University to Hold 2020 Commencement Online – Asbury University
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Asbury University to Hold 2020 Commencement Online

September 1, 2020

Dear Asbury Community,

For many institutions, COVID-19 has forced a renewed appraisal of how we think about what we do. And while our commitment to delivering a Spirit-filled transformative education has not changed, we have been forced to modify some of our everyday campus structures as well as our special and traditional events and celebrations.

As you know, we were unable to hold our Commencement this past May. At the time, we were hopeful that COVID-19 cases would have decreased enough to provide renewed confidence regarding the safety and health of everyone returning to campus in October for an in-person event. Unfortunately, that is not our reality as we enter this fall. For these reasons, we feel that we cannot safely and responsibly hold an in-person commencement this October and will be moving to an online video modality for this ceremony.

Commencement ceremonies have two dominant elements – ceremonial and celebratory. The ceremonial element recognizes the important transition from student to graduate with great pomp and circumstance. The celebratory element allows graduates to gather and honor the moment over meals and receptions. Our aim is to capture both of these elements for the Visionary class in two distinct ways. On October 17, 2020, we will hold a virtual event that will recognize and honor the new Asbury graduates in a ceremonial way. While COVID-19 will not allow us to gather in-person for a celebratory event currently, we will schedule a time for the graduates of 2020 to gather together on campus when it’s safe to do so.

While we know this is disappointing, I continue to believe that we can honor and celebrate our graduates in a manner worthy of their years at Asbury.

This decision was a difficult one! We received input across the entire Asbury Community, including the President of the Visionary Class, Colin Toth and Student Body President, Maggie Richwine.

Colin’s insight to this decision was, “While the decision to move Commencement online is not a light one, it is a necessary decision. My hope is that we, as Visionaries, can see this as a sacrifice for the safety and benefit of our neighbor: our professors, the students on campus, and even our families. Although Commencement may not look like we had hoped, our class will not be forgotten, and we will be together again, someday.”

Maggie added, “Commencement is two-fold. One part is the official ceremony when you walk across a stage, receive your diploma, and wear your cap and gown. This is the part that is moving online. The decision to shift to an online ceremony was not easy. But, there is a second part of Commencement. There is the celebration of the great achievement you accomplished. The celebration with your family, friends, and Visionary Class. This celebration started back in August of 2019, continued on May 9, 2020, will happen on October 17, 2020, is happening today, and will happen again in the future once we can be together again. I urge us, the Visionary Class, to continue to persevere through the hard times, remember the good times at Asbury, and look forward to our time back on campus again one day.”

Please mark your calendar for Saturday, October 17, 2020, at 10 a.m. EST to join us for an online celebration of the Visionary Class. Additional information can be found in the Commencement FAQs.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate these ever-changing times, and we look forward to celebrating with each of you online in October!


Timothy Wooster, PhD
Provost, Asbury University