For the first time since the pandemic, December graduation events will be held in person. The fall 2020 graduation celebrations, like many other events, were cancelled due to COVID-19. This year Weber State University will be combining the old and the new.

The past two years have proven at least one thing: a need for change. Across the board, industries have made adjustments to accommodate the pandemic, which has led to a greater use of technology. A Pew Research article published in February 2021 states that “Experts say the ‘new normal’ in 2025 will be far more tech-driven.” The article reviews the pros and cons to a society that relies heavily on technology.

Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 Spring Commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds.
Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 Spring Commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds. Photo credit: Weber State University

One frequently discussed benefit of technology is connectedness. A few examples of tech geared toward this purpose include FaceTime, Zoom and social media. The livestream option on many platforms has allowed audiences to be present, at least in a figurative way.

A Bloomberg article from April 2021 stated that “the pandemic has driven a massive increase in the overall audience for live streaming content.”

Weber State has taken advantage of these new, more accessible platforms and incorporated them around campus, including for events and ceremonies. Becky Thompson, event manager for University Advancement, said livestreaming “was a very positive thing” and will continue to be incorporated in future events. Livestreaming was not commonly used at WSU graduation ceremonies prior to the pandemic.

Although the upcoming graduation convocations will be in person, they will also be streamed online. This provides additional accessibility for friends, family and faculty to celebrate with the 2021 WSU graduates.

Combining “new” technology such as livestreaming with the old way of holding in-person ceremonies is a step into the future for WSU.

The spring and fall graduation ceremony traditions somewhat differ.

“It will all be in person, and it will be convocations only. Our December commencements are a little bit different. There’s not a main commencement program; it’s convocations for each individual college, and those will be live,” Thompson said.

Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 spring commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds.
Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 spring commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds. Photo credit: Weber State University

In-person convocations are back to the pre-pandemic norm, with the biggest distinction being the livestreaming option.

“It’s back to the way it used to be, but we are going to livestream it as well,” Thompson said.

Although Weber will be requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students starting in the spring of 2022, they will not be required to attend the graduation events, nor will masks be required.

“There are no mask mandates. It would be recommended, but not mandated,” Thompson said.

Congratulations are in order for Weber State graduates, notably completing degrees during a global pandemic and amidst the ongoing pandemic recovery. In celebration of their achievements, a convocation will be held for each college.

All of the convocations will be held on Dec. 17. The following is the schedule for each location:

Val A. Browning Center: College of Science at 8 a.m.; John B. Goddard School of Business at 10:30 a.m.; Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities at 1 p.m.; general studies at 4. p.m.

Dee Events Center: Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education at 8 a.m.; College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at 10:30 a.m.; College of Engineering at 1 p.m.; Applied Science & Technology at 1 p.m., Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions at 3:30 p.m.

The ROTC joint ceremony will be held at Utah State University Brigham City campus at 989 S. Main Street, Brigham City, UT 84302 at 1 p.m.

The Bachelor of Integrated Studies will be held at Stewart Library in the Hetzel-Hoellein Room at 9:30 a.m.

Additional information can be found at weber.edu/commencement.

Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 Spring Commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds.
Weber State University graduates and community members gather for the 2020 Spring Commencement on August 29, 2020. The ceremony was delayed four months due to COVID-19. When the ceremony finally happened, it was moved outdoors with masks, extra distance and smaller crowds. Photo credit: Weber State University
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