University of Wisconsin-Madison cancels graduation ceremony

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison has canceled its planned graduation ceremonies that were to take place May 8 and May 9 and will instead offer a “virtual ceremony.”

The decision from UW-Madison announced Monday was not unexpected given similar moves made by universities across the country. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university and senior class officers were developing a virtual commencement that will be posted online May 8 for all graduates to watch.

She also says an in-person event at a future date after the public health crisis has subsided is being planned.

About 7,000 undergraduate degrees are typically handed out at the May graduation ceremony that attracts about 40,000 people.

“Of all the decisions we’ve had to make in this extraordinary time, this one has been the most heartbreaking for me,” Blank said. “We held out on this decision as long as possible, in hopes that the outlook for late spring might brighten and we’d be able to gather as usual.”

But she said given the state and federal guidelines against gatherings of more than 10 people, there was no way any graduation ceremonies could proceed, including smaller ones in schools, colleges, departments or other campus organizations.