URI nixes in-person commencement ceremonies, seeking alternative celebrations

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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The University of Rhode Island is the latest local institution to forgo its in-person commencement ceremonies due to COVID-19, according to spokesperson David Lavallee.

The graduation ceremonies were scheduled for the weekend of May 16-17. URI’s decision comes one day after the Community College of Rhode Island canceled its in-person commencement.

“The university is deeply committed to ensuring our prospective graduates and their families have an opportunity to celebrate and share one of their greatest life achievements,” Lavallee said in a statement. “Given the continuing guidance about social distancing and group gatherings, it is essential that the health and well being of our graduates and their families remain our highest priority.”

Lavallee said this does not mean soon-to-be graduates won’t have a chance to celebrate their accomplishments, however. URI is asking students to submit ideas for alternative commencement celebrations. One idea being floated is a “virtual recognition” on the same weekend the actual commencement was supposed to be held.

Anyone who has an idea is encouraged to fill out this survey by March 26 at noon.

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