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Future pandemic conditions will unfold in ways we cannot predict. The Western Oregon University Commencement Committee is monitoring the situation and modeling potential plans for delivering the 164th Commencement within the requirements we are given by Oregon Health Authority and Governor Kate Brown.

We continue to monitor and plan as the internal and external factors unfold and shape our options for balancing the health and safety of our community with this important celebration. Governor Brown has established three distinct phases. Polk county is currently in Phase 2. Our phase and physical space constraints will frame our decisions. Given the current spike in cases and the challenges associated with mass production and distribution of a vaccine, we are currently operating under the assumption that we will still be in Phase 2 at the time that we must decide how to proceed.

To inform that decision, graduates will be engaged and kept informed throughout the process. The committee has established the following schedule.

  1. January 7: Distribute a feedback survey to students.
  2. January 21: The survey will close.
  3. Jan 25-Feb 5: The survey results will be compiled, the responses analyzed, and prepared for the committee to review.
  4. No later than February 19: The committee will review the results, alter plans as possible in accordance with the feedback received, and rank the plans according to student preference.
  5. Within 1-2 business days of the February meeting, the commencement homepage will be updated to share a summary of the results of the survey, the ranking of the plans per the survey results, the final decision date, and the town-hall date. An email will be sent to campus announcing the publication of that information.
  6. March 29 (the first day of spring term): The final decision will be made, the commencement homepage will be updated and a notification will be sent to campus.
  7. April 7: The President, Provost, and Registrar will host a town hall discussion about the upcoming ceremony.

This site will be updated regularly as information is received and decisions are made.

We are acutely aware that this pandemic is the cause of much pain and great disappointment for many. We know the last year of your degree may not be how you envisioned. An important rite of passage during your final year is Commencement, and we want to honor that by celebrating graduates in meaningful ways.