Arkansas State University has unveiled tentative plans to host spring and summer graduate commencement ceremonies in August. The summer commencement will take place Aug. 7. The postponed spring commencement Aug. 8.
The ceremonies are slated to be held outdoors.
“For the first time in more than 30 years, Arkansas State will conduct its commencement ceremony outdoors at Centennial Bank Stadium,” ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “The physical distancing necessary for an event like commencement simply is not possible at First National Bank Arena. Our graduates will be seated six feet apart on the football field, with the commencement stage in the south end zone beneath the Centennial Bank Stadium video board. Guests will be seated in the stands.”
All attendees will be required to wear face coverings. The ceremonial part of the event will be limited, he said. After a brief welcome and a student speaker, individual graduates will be recognized. As their names are announced, graduates will cross the commencement stage to receive their diploma cover before returning to their seat. Officials anticipate the ceremonies will only last about two hours each.
Limited seating will be available. Graduates will be allowed to four guests each. The deadline for ticket requests will be July 24.
“We created our revised commencement procedures to limit the number of potential interactions between people as much as practical. Thus, we are forgoing the traditional faculty and student processionals. Faculty members who desire to attend the ceremonies are welcome to do so, but as always, there is no requirement to do so.
“Graduates and faculty members will proceed directly to their seats on the field upon arrival, which eliminates the crowded line-ups that ordinarily take place at FNB Arena. We will reach out directly to faculty members who have doctoral students graduating so that we make special arrangements related to their students. We are also significantly reducing the number of participants on the platform to accommodate social distancing,” Damphousse said.