March 11, 2021

Dr. Eric Darr: Commencement 2021 Statement

Spring commencement is the high point of HU’s year. We love the music, the speeches, the energy, and especially, the happy sight of cap-and-gowned students accepting their hardearned HU degrees. Unfortunately, I must announce that, once again, the pandemic has forced a change in plans. Harrisburg University will not hold a live commencement this year but will confer degrees in a virtual ceremony on May 6 at 6:30 p.m. I know this is not the news you wanted to hear, but rest assured, you are not forgotten. We are planning special events to show our pride in the Class of 2021 and your predecessors also denied of an in-person ceremony, the Class of 2020, hopefully as early as this fall.

We did not come to this decision lightly. Your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and all your loved ones should be there for your special day. This year, the spaces big enough to hold all that joy remain under social distancing restrictions. We would have to drastically limit attendance. And yes, we investigated outdoor possibilities, but you and your families, and the entire HU community, would be at the whims of central Pennsylvania weather. No good options seemed viable.

A virtual ceremony emerged as the only safe, reliable option. The decision had to be made now. Dangling slim hopes for a live event would have been unfair and, in all likelihood, forced costly disruptions in your family’s travel plans. I know that a virtual ceremony will not be the same, but I promise that it will be meaningful and focused on your tremendous accomplishments. We will even conclude with a virtual dance party, to end the night on a fun note. Please watch for future announcements with more detail about the May 6, 2021 virtual events. The virtual conferring of degrees will not be the end of your HU journey, especially because we will hold a special, in-person event for you as soon as possible. It will, we hope, be the beginning of a life-long connection to HU as an alumnus.