Maine universities call off in-person graduation ceremonies

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The University of Maine System on Monday canceled the in-person graduation ceremonies scheduled for May at all seven of its universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy and university presidents made the decision about 15 days after the universities transitioned to remote learning and asked students to leave campus for the remainder of the spring semester.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Each university will come up with its own alternate graduation celebration in place of the in-person ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 9. Plans are expected to be announced by mid-April.

“All UMS universities and the Law School will be awarding degrees on schedule and recognizing the academic achievements of our graduating students,” Malloy wrote in a message on the university system’s website. “While traditional in-person commencement exercises are not possible during the pandemic, each university will determine an appropriate alternative celebration that balances the need to protect public health with the joyful recognition of our students’ academic aspirations and achievements.”

After the University of Maine directed students to leave campus earlier this month, 1,200 students gathered in the Memorial Union on the Orono campus for an impromptu graduation celebration called “coronamencement” before they left campus, unsure if they would have a real graduation ceremony.

UMaine has also recently been scrolling graduates’ names on the outdoor scoreboard at Morse Field.

This story was originally published on the Bangor Daily News

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