Updated: Apr 28, 2020
UPDATE: University officials have confirmed that there will be a virtual commencement on Saturday, May 2. Each graduating senior will be able to hear their name and watch commencement online.
When the University of Tennessee at Martin in-person classes were suspended, the campus administration had a lot of questions to answer. The unprecedented moves left a lot of questions up in the air.
Seniors were worried about one question in particular: graduation. Senior public relations communication student Jessica Davis expressed her concern on Twitter:
Dr. Andy Lewter, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said Thursday, March 19 in an interview with WUTM News that members of administration are still working on making those decisions.
"We're planning to basically postpone graduation. So maybe in August, we would have the full graduation ceremony for any seniors who want to come back and participate," Lewter said.
Lewter said they might celebrate summer graduates into the ceremony in August. The August ceremony wouldn't be the only commencement, though. The Vice Chancellor said they have considered a virtual ceremony on graduation day, May 2.
UTM Chancellor Keith Carver believes a May 2 graduation is very important. "That way, people can at least see their deans, see the provost, see others in a virtual format, and we’ll read those names off because we think it’s important. Let’s confer the degrees."
Campus administration is not blind to how important a proper ceremony is to Skyhawks.
"We understand the value of graduating from UT Martin. We'll still do it in the same Skyhawk way," Lewter said.