UPDATE: Temple Update’s Adam Miller spoke with students to hear how they feel about the decision to postpone. Watch more here: https://templeupdate.com/temple-university-postpones-commencement/
In a letter to the Temple University community Monday morning, President Richard Englert announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all in-person Spring commencement ceremonies are postponed for the time being.
The University is exploring alternative means to holding an in-person commencement ceremony. It was also announced that all campus events through May 31 are cancelled.
This letter comes as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Pennsylvania rises to 479.
This story is developing and new information will be added as it becomes available.
Read the full letter below:
To the Temple University community:
The past few weeks have been tumultuous for our university and our nation. While many of us have scattered to our homes, we have been amazed at how the Temple University community members have held together, supported each other and ensured the continuation of our vital mission.
Just as you adjust to your new lives, we at Temple are working through some increasingly difficult decisions—one in particular that has not been made lightly and was made with heavy hearts. It is with great sadness that we share with you that our spring on-campus Commencement exercises will be postponed. While this is difficult to report, we have no doubt that you will understand the need to protect the health and well-being of you, your fellow graduates, your family, friends, and the wider community during this uncertain and challenging time.
While we will not hold the traditional in-person ceremony on May 7, we are exploring alternatives to this long-standing celebration of your achievement. Over the next few weeks, as we all learn more about the impact of this pandemic and whether social distancing will still be a necessary component in our lives, we will engage our students in the conversation around a meaningful recognition.
Regardless of the shape Commencement takes, we will join with you in celebrations that live up to this momentous occasion in your lives. And, of course, those prospective graduates who meet the academic requirements will earn their degrees as of May 7.
We also have news on several other fronts.
Several weeks ago, we announced the suspension of university-affiliated international travel to specific nations through the end of February. Based on the current world situation, we are now suspending all faculty and staff university-related international travel through May 31. And for students, we are suspending all university-affiliated international travel through June 22.
We are also canceling all campus events through May 31.
In response to many questions about the future of summer programs, you should know that the Summer I session at Temple will still occur, but it will be moved to an online format. Priority registration for Summer I will be delayed by one week and will start on April 2.
In addition, we want to make sure that those students who are farthest from home, our international students, know that we continue to value you as vital members of the Temple Owls family. We understand that these are difficult times, and we know that unfortunately not everyone welcomes persons from abroad. But know that at Temple, we hold true to our belief that “#YouAreWelcomeHere.” Any harassment will not be tolerated. We encourage you to contact Temple University Police should you feel harassed at any time. In addition, you should always feel free to contact the International Student Affairs Office at 215-204-9572 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your concerns.
Finally, we wanted to once again say how deeply grateful we are to all of you for keeping the Temple University we know and love moving forward. Your commitment to this school—and most especially to one another—proves that whether we are on campus or not, the spirit of our university community remains strong. And we want to give special recognition to our dedicated physicians, nurses, lab technicians, other health professionals and staff members in our hospitals and various clinics who labor unselfishly to serve our patients, including some of the most vulnerable. You are true heroes and models for us all.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost