Miami University announces return to in-person spring graduation: How it will change

Miami University officials announced this week it will hold modified, in-person graduation ceremonies during three days in May to adhere to coronavirus precautions. The ceremonies will be held outdoors in Miami's Yager Stadium (pictured) but with masks, social distancing and limited guest numbers. (FILE PHOTO/ Journal-News)
Miami University officials announced this week it will hold modified, in-person graduation ceremonies during three days in May to adhere to coronavirus precautions. The ceremonies will be held outdoors in Miami's Yager Stadium (pictured) but with masks, social distancing and limited guest numbers. (FILE PHOTO/ Journal-News)

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

For the first time since spring of 2019, Miami University will hold a variation of its annual graduation ceremony in May with precautions, said school officials.

Commencement for more than 4,000 Miami graduates will be spread over three days with all ceremonies held outside in Yager Stadium instead of the traditional site indoors at the school’s Millet Hall.

The return to an in-person commencement is important and all the more so during the pandemic, said Miami President Gregory Crawford.

“Commencement is a beloved tradition and our opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students as they reach this milestone in their academic journey,” said Crawford in a statement released by the school.

“The pandemic has shaped this last year in many ways, and in the face of the unprecedented challenges, these students have shown remarkable creativity, flexibility, and fortitude. We are thrilled to be able to recognize their achievements in person this spring.”

“In alignment with state of Ohio capacity guidelines, Miami will host eight divisional ceremonies at Yager Stadium rain or shine,” according to school officials.

More details regarding tickets will be announced later but as of now the various graduation ceremonies, which includes graduates from Miami’s regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown, will be conducted starting Friday May 14 and then on Saturday and Sunday.

Last week Miami officials announced the school will return to in-person classes for the 2021-2022 school year.

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Unlike the coronavirus-cancelled, live commencement of spring 2020, graduates this year will be individually recognized as they walk across the commencement stage.

“To maintain social distancing and to meet capacity limits, each graduate is permitted to invite up to six guests to the ceremony. Guests will have assigned seats in ‘pods’ that are socially distanced from other attendees. All participants, graduates, guests, and staff will be required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing during the events.”

Thousands of Miami students this school took the remote learning option and did not return to live on the main Oxford campus.

The graduations will also be broadcast online for remote students and their families who chose not to attend.

“University officials continue to monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working with the Butler County General Health District to ensure proper distancing and the implementation of strategies to help minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.”

“Should parameters for safely gathering change and ceremony details change, Miami will notify the community as soon as possible,” said school officials.