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SMSU cancels September commencement

MARSHALL — Celebrations for the graduating class of 2020 were already put on hold once at Southwest Minnesota State University. Unfortunately, restrictions on large gatherings haven’t lifted in Minnesota, so a planned September commencement event won’t be held, university officials said Thursday.

“Restrictions put in place across Minnesota to contain COVID-19 limited our options for providing a meaningful graduation ceremony to students and their families,” said SMSU Provost Ross Wastvedt. “Rather than compromise on this goal, we are looking instead at other ways of celebrating our students’ accomplishments.”

The university first announced it would postpone commencement back in March when Minnesota was starting to shut down businesses and in-person classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 565 SMSU students were originally set to graduate in commencement exercises on May 9.

Sept. 26 was set as the new date for commencement. But this week, SMSU announced that commencement won’t be held that day either.

University spokespeople said it hasn’t been decided yet how celebrations for the class of 2020 will be held. SMSU will contact class of 2020 alumni through email, and get their feedback on “several options” for recognizing their graduation. Alumni input will help inform a final decision early this fall, SMSU spokespeople said.

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