WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University spring graduate candidates will have the opportunity to hear their name called, receive their diploma and even rent a cap and gown this spring despite nationwide cancellations amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Purdue officials announced plans Thursday to pioneer an "on-demand" commencement ceremony this spring after calling off all in-person activities earlier this month.
Through a digital ceremony, members of the spring class of 2020 will be able to download their own ceremony and watch an invocation, presidential address and conferral of degrees with family at a time of their choosing, according to a Purdue University news release.
"If we can't put on the nation's best traditional ceremony, then we'll produce the best remote one," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in the news release. "It's a huge disappointment to us all that we can't do this in person, but with input from a creative group of graduating seniors, we will do the best we can to preserve the essence of this special occasion."
Students will be mailed a diploma cover, commencement program and honor cords, if applicable, before May 15, when the university initially intended to celebrate its in-person spring commencement ceremony.
Purdue is working with vendor Herff Jones to extend cap and gown rental deadlines to April 22, absorb shipping fees and lengthen the period of time students may keep their cap and gown.
Graduates will also be provided with a series of virtual backgrounds featuring well-known West Lafayette campus landmarks, like the stage at Elliott Hall, the Bell Tower or the Gateway to the Future arch.
Purdue students were informed over spring break the university would be conducting the rest of the spring semester online in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As many as half a dozen other Indiana colleges and universities have opted to cancel or postpone in-person commencement ceremonies this spring.
Graduating seniors at Purdue will still have the opportunity to participate in an in-person ceremony, likely in August or December, according to the university.
Further details on Purdue's virtual graduates will be shared with graduates in the coming weeks.
More information on Purdue West Lafayette's response to the novel coronavirus is available at purdue.edu/newsroom//releases/2020/Q1/need-to-know-info-about-covid-2019.html.