WIU to hold in-person commencement ceremony

By DYLAN SMITH, Reporter

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — Less than two weeks after Western Illinois University made the decision to hold a virtual commencement ceremony, student opinions were heard, a petition signed and the decision was reversed.

The decision to hold an in-person-commencement ceremony came last week after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois is now in a “bridge” phase between Phases 4 and 5.

“I think this gives something to people to look forward to, especially with us seniors who have been online for over a year now,” said Taylor Gean, WIU senior and creator of the commencement petition. “I think it is pretty much like the icing on the cake. It is something we have to look forward to after sitting in our dorms, apartments, on our computers for a whole year now.”

The graduation ceremony is set to take place the weekend of May 14-16 at Hanson Field. Originally, graduates were given the option to have their photo taken as they walked the stage individually. That option has been canceled.

After Western’s announcement of virtual commencement, Gena started the petition and collected more than 1,300 signatures.

To ensure compliance with state and university COVID-19 protocols, attendees, graduates and staff will be required to wear a face covering and socially distance. Four guest tickets will be available for each graduate. Additional tickets will not be available. The ceremonies will be streamed live on WIU’s Facebook and YouTube channel.

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony could be delayed or canceled at the last minute. Visit wiu.edu/commencement for more information.