USC to hold in-person commencement ceremonies in May for the classes of 2020, 2021

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The University of Southern California plans to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021 over a nearly two-week span in May.

The ceremonies will take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but only students residing in California will be allowed to attend due to state restrictions.

"Commencement is one of the most cherished ceremonies in a student's academic life. It's the single time when we come together as a community to celebrate years of hard work by our graduates," USC President Carol Folt said in a university-wide email sent this week.

University officials are "actively working with state officials to see if there is any avenue to allow out-of-state residents to attend the ceremonies," according to Folt.

"For those who cannot join us in Los Angeles, everything we do in-person will also be broadcast online, live and on-demand for future viewing," she said. "The university is building a new digital platform to host a memorable, feature-rich remote experience with the objective of delivering an
unforgettable experience for everyone. Every school will host a virtual celebration for its graduates on May 13."

To comply with state restrictions on density and rules for cleaning following each ceremony, graduations will be scheduled twice a day from May 14 to May 25 and each student will be allowed two guests.

Due to distancing requirements, it will not be possible to hood doctoral candidates, according to Folt, who said hooding ceremonies will take place at a future time when restrictions are lifted.

All ceremonies will combine elements of USC's traditional main graduation ceremony with those of individual schools and colleges, according to the statement. Every graduate will be invited to one ceremony with their specific school or degree program cohort.

Graduates will have the opportunity to cross the stage, hear their names read, receive their diplomas, and have their photos taken while projected on the screens at the stadium.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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