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Michigan State Plans 50-Plus Outdoor Graduation Ceremonies

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More than 50 outdoor graduation ceremonies are planned this spring at Michigan State University.

School officials said more than 8,400 students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees will be recognized across three weekends in April and May, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

Spring graduation at the East Lansing school typically comes with about 20 ceremonies. A university-wide convocation will not be held this year.

Undergraduate ceremonies will be held in large campus parking lots to allow for appropriate physical distancing. Each graduate will be permitted to have up to two guests at the ceremonies to accommodate current attendance restrictions on outdoor gatherings due to COVID-19 virus concerns.

Ceremonies for master’s and doctoral degree recipients as well as education specialists will be held virtually and streamed on Michigan State’s commencement website.

The colleges of Human Medicine, Law, Osteopathic Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will hold in-person ceremonies.

“Graduation is a time-honored academic transition from learning to the world, and the Office of the Provost looks forward to enabling in-person celebrations to recognize this milestone accomplishment for our spring 2021 graduates,” Michigan State Provost Teresa Woodruff said in a statement. “We have resourced every part of our campus community in support of this effort and are confident in our collective abilities to persevere in commending this group of scholars.”

On Saturday, parents and students held a rally to show their displeasure with the University of Michigan’s decision to forgo a traditional in-person spring graduation in Ann Arbor.

U-M is planning to hold graduation in a virtual format with speeches on May 1. The school is also planning a number of in-person experiences, including professional photographs at Michigan Stadium.

School officials said it’s impossible to know what infection and vaccination rates for the virus will be in spring and whether state and local limits on gatherings could change.

It’s the second year that a traditional graduation has been canceled at U-M because of the coronavirus.

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