West Liberty announces new changes to fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony

From five ceremonies last semester to just one this semester, West Liberty University (WLU) is able to hold another in-person commencement ceremony, taking place on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. in the ASRC. According to Maureen Zambito, director of media relations, there is expected to be 148 graduating students — 97 undergraduates and 51 graduate students.

With a smaller graduating class this fall, the university is only holding one ceremony instead of the originally planned two ceremonies. This second ceremony, originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10 has been cancelled.

The graduates will also be receiving their actual diplomas during the ceremony. Zambito says, “The use of actual diplomas is a move suggested by President Evans and agreed on by the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Scott Cook… Real diplomas create a more meaningful graduation for our graduates as they celebrate their special day.”

In light of COVID-19 rates on campus, the restrictions have been lightened for the fall 2021 graduating class as compared to the spring ceremony. Each graduate is allowed to have six guests this semester as opposed to the two guest policy of last semester. However, masks and social distancing will remain mandatory this year for the audience and participants attending the ceremony.

Although the ceremony has minor modifications, the process for graduation remains largely the same. Graduation applications were to be completed before June 25 to avoid the late fee of $110, and the final date for application submission acceptance was Sept 10.

The students meeting the academic requirements for graduation are expected to take part in the commencement exercises. If a student fails to compensate the university for any fines and fees accumulated over the course of their college career, like parking tickets or library fines, then the university will not be able to release the final transcript or diploma to the student. If these financial obligations are taken care of, then the student will receive their diploma at the ceremony or, for those unable to attend, they will receive it in the mail.

Future graduates must also pay a graduation fee to the business office which includes the cost of the cap and gown ordered online through Herff Jones company. The cap and gown can be picked up at one of the two graduation fairs on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the ASRC Boyle Room or Tuesday Nov. 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Highland Center. If a student is unable to attend either of these, they are able to pick up their cap and gown in the bookstore after Nov. 18. The university asks future graduates to fill out an online form to state which graduation fair they will be attending or if they are attending neither, so the university can have the cap and gowns in the proper areas for the students to pick up.

Thomas Curtin, a soon to be graduate of the fall 2021 class, had this to say about the end of his college career closing in: “It’s a bittersweet feeling but I am ready and prepared to start the next chapter of my life. With that being said, I must still remain focused as the hard part is not over yet.”

Another future graduate, Logan Starr, said the following about the end of his college career, “Truthfully, I am very excited. I loved college and it was fun, but I am ready for the next chapter of my life to start. College has had its ups and downs for sure, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

For more information, contact Amy Balog at [email protected] or call her phone at (304) 336-8127.