Class of 2020 graduate. Courtesy of PSU

PSU announces a virtual commencement ceremony for 2021

Graduation is going virtual—again.


Portland State President Stephen Percy announced Thursday that commencement ceremonies will be held online for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.


“We have come to the difficult decision to once again hold virtual commencement ceremonies,” Percy stated. “The unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to the conclusion that a virtual ceremony is the best option to keep our community safe. While more people are being vaccinated every day, state and local health officials have given no indication that they will be changing prohibitions on large, in-person gatherings.”


The online commencent will take place on June 13, but no specific details regarding plans for the ceremony have been released yet. The usual graduation regalia won’t be required—but can be purchased online.


University of Oregon and Oregon State University have also announced online commencement ceremonies for 2021.


Percy also announced in the campus-wide email that PSU is in the process of arranging on-campus photography appointments in June for graduates to commemorate graduation. Eligible graduates will be emailed with more details. Photo ops will be extended to the class of 2020 as well. 


Shortly after state lockdowns took effect last year, PSU made the controversial decision to hold commencement ceremonies exclusively online. The school originally insisted that no plans would be made to alternatively postpone the ceremony, in order to dedicate more focus to the event online. Students expressed their disappointment over social media, and a petition to postpone the event started circulating online.


After working with Associated Students of Portland State University, PSU later changed its decision and announced that an in-person graduation ceremony would be held once Oregon Health Authority allowed for it. No additional word on an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 was included in Thursday’s announcement.


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This is a developing story—a longer piece will be released in our March 16 issue. We want to hear from you! If you have thoughts or comments, email [email protected] or [email protected] and your responses may be featured in a future article.