SUNY Canton, SLU plan smaller, in-person graduations

Graduates wait to take the stage at SUNY Canton’s commencement ceremony in 2016. Photo courtesy of SUNY Canton

CANTON — For the second year in a row, college commencements are adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, and SUNY Canton on Wednesday announced more formalized plans to celebrate its graduates this spring.

St. Lawrence University has again rescheduled its ceremony day, now set for April 18.

To honor the classes of 2020 and 2021 — the traditional spring 2020 commencement was canceled last year — SUNY Canton will be hosting a series of in-person ceremonies for graduates only.

“We believe it will be safe to hold smaller in-person gatherings in May to recognize our students’ accomplishments,” SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said in a statement.

Guests will not be permitted on campus, he added, but family, friends and alumni can watch the full ceremonies live on social media.

The series of ceremonies will be held at designated times across two weekends at the Roos House Convocation, Athletic, and Recreation Center. The first ceremony, at 11 a.m. May 8, will honor the class of 2020. The class of 2021 will be invited at varying times on May 15, in separate events for the Canino School of Engineering Technology, the School of Business and Liberal Arts and the School of Science, Health, and Criminal Justice.

The preliminary plan is subject to change based on COVID-19 case numbers and any updated local, state and federal public health guidelines. Students and faculty attending the ceremonies will be expected to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result.

Additional virtual ceremonies are also in the works.

Last month, St. Lawrence University announced a similar series of smaller in-person events would replace a traditional commencement that had been initially set for April 25. Commencement scenarios were being considered for April 11, but the plan was updated Tuesday, with four separate ceremonies at Newell Field House specified throughout the day on April 18. No guests will be allowed, but each event will be live-streamed on the university’s website.

To participate in an assigned ceremony, on-campus SLU graduates will be required to test negative for the novel coronavirus on either April 13 or 14. Graduates arriving from out of the area will be required to complete testing and quarantine protocols.

In Potsdam, Clarkson University has landed on three ceremony days — May 13 for class of 2021 graduate students; May 15 for class of 2021 undergraduate students; and May 22 for the class of 2020. More details are expected from Clarkson at the beginning of April.

SUNY Potsdam has tentatively scheduled an event for May 22, though specifics have yet to be finalized.

Updates from each university are posted to:

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