Mercer postpones 2020 commencement ceremonies

Students set to graduate from Mercer with bachelor’s, graduate or law degrees this May will have traditional commencement ceremonies in August due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the university. The commencement for Mercer School of Medicine graduates will take place virtually in May.

“We must have a commencement,” Mercer President William Underwood said in an email sent to all students on April 14. “And we must have it in a setting, and at a time, that allows those who have been a part of your success to participate through their presence.”

The baccalaureate service will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 7 in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus.

The School of Law commencement will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 7 in the Hawkins Arena on the Macon Campus.

The commencement for students in graduate programs in Macon other than law and medicine will be held on Aug. 8 in Hawkins Arena on the Macon Campus. A time has yet to be announced. 

The commencement for programs in Mercer’s Atlanta campus will be held at 3 p.m. on Aug. 9 in the Infinite Energy Center.

For those set to graduate from the School of Medicine, the commencement will be held virtually on its originally set date of May 2. This is, Underwood said, because many of these graduates must begin residency programs soon after their graduation.

Universities around the nation have made adjustments to their graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020. Some of these schools, including Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania, have announced that they will switch their commencement to a virtual format. Others, including Washington University in St. Louis and Emory University, have cancelled their ceremonies completely.

Mercer joins several other institutions in postponing their ceremonies to what they hope will be a safer time for such a gathering.

Graduation itself from Mercer’s programs will not be delayed, and students will earn their degrees after all requirements are met.

 “I want to congratulate you now on your impending graduation,” Underwood said. “I very much look forward to congratulating you in a more formal and personal way in August.”