Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced today that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university will not hold in-person commencement ceremonies May 8 and 9, instead offering a virtual ceremony with plans to hold an in-person event at a later date.

“Of all the decisions we’ve had to make in this extraordinary time, this one has been the most heartbreaking for me. There is no better event at UW than commencement when we award degrees and celebrate the completion of school for our graduates,” Blank said in her message to the Class of 2020. “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 as you probably know, both the CDC and State of Wisconsin have put out guidance regarding gatherings of large groups of people. That means that in addition to the main ceremonies, graduation celebrations in schools, colleges, departments and campus organizations will also not go forward in May.”

In a press release Monday, Blank said that in consultation with the senior class officers, the university is developing a virtual commencement that will be posted online on Friday, May 8, for all graduates to watch in celebration of the successful completion of their studies. Students are also helping the university design an in-person event to be held following the public health crisis, for everyone who can attend.

Blank emphasized that the lack of an in-person commencement ceremony does NOT mean students are not graduating.  The university will share information about how diplomas will be sent out and other important updates at