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HBCU Graduations

HBCU virtual ceremonies kick off graduation season for 2020 seniors

Here’s a list of schools’ commencement plans to honor graduates

This graduation season will be like no other because of the coronavirus impact on America’s college campuses.

Several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are holding virtual commencements in lieu of the events that draw families, friends and alumni to their campuses. Some universities rescheduled actual graduations in the late fall or winter of 2020 or in the spring of 2021.

Alcorn State, Alabama A&M and Alabama State held their virtual commencement ceremonies last weekend. Among the universities that have announced they will hold virtual graduations are Howard, Florida A&M, Prairie View A&M, Delaware State and Maryland Eastern Shore. Prairie View A&M and Howard will hold their virtual graduations on May 9. Morgan State is hosting a Virtual Recognition Ceremony on May 16.

“The Commencement Steering Committee selected this because we know that the Panther Nation will emerge from these challenging times even more resilient and determined to continue the legacies of our great university,” said James A. Wilson, Prairie View A&M’s commencement chairman. The university’s Class of 2020 includes more than 900 graduates.

Howard’s virtual graduation is the same day the normal graduation ceremonies and commencement would have taken place. The university said it plans to hold a physical graduation for the 2020 seniors May 9, 2021, over Mother’s Day weekend.

North Carolina Central postponed its commencement and plans to mail diplomas to graduating seniors. North Carolina A&T State says it plans to reschedule ceremonies for sometime this summer.

Some universities, such as Coppin State, Clark Atlanta and Mississippi Valley State, are still finalizing alternative plans.

“While we understand that this is certainly disappointing for our students, we’re looking forward to celebrating with our graduates and their family and friends, hopefully later this year,” said Mississippi Valley State president Jerryl Briggs.

The school said its plans to celebrate the spring 2020 graduates will be announced later.

HBCU graduations and commencements

Nathaniel is a 2019 Rhoden Fellow and a senior journalism major and history minor from Evanston, Illinois. He has written both sports and news for The Hilltop and the Ghanaian Times. Having grown up a die-hard sports fan of everything Chicago, he is a firm believer that the Bears will be in Super Bowl contention this year.

Whitney is 2019 Rhoden Fellow and a senior journalism major from Cincinnati. She works at Hampton’s on-campus radio station, WHOV 88.1 FM. She is also a play-by-play commentator for women’s basketball games and a color commentator for football and men’s basketball.