Students at Cleveland State planning to graduate next month received news worth celebrating this week. After hearing from the graduating class via student survey and discussing options with the college's Commencement Committee, the college has decided to move the previously postponed Spring 2020 graduation to a new date on the calendar. The commencement ceremony will now be held at the L. Quentin Lane Center on Friday, July 31, at 5:30 p.m.
According to Dr. Bill Seymour, Cleveland State president, the decision on what to do to honor the graduates was a scheduling priority. The college had originally wanted to plan a virtual commencement ceremony, but after hearing from a few soon-to-be graduates who did not like this idea, the college decided to survey all spring graduates to ask their opinions on a variety of alternatives for the traditional spring graduation. When the survey results were in, the majority favored a rescheduled ceremony for the end of the summer term. These results were then reviewed by the Commencement Committee.
“The group identified the date of July 31 as our new preferred commencement date,” said Dr. Seymour. “The hope was by the end of July we would be past restrictions due to COVID-19. For graduates who plan to transfer, this date allows them to participate before they get started with their new college or university.
Lindsey Mowery, assistant registrar and graduation coordinator, said, “I was hearing from graduates on a daily basis wanting to know what the college was going to do about the Spring Commencement Ceremony. I thought the survey was a good option to let the graduates feel included in the decision. They have all worked hard to earn their degree/certificate, and it was important for them to have a ceremony to celebrate this accomplishment with their families.”
Cleveland State was one of the first schools to switch to online instruction allowing students to extend their Spring Break for two additional days and start back to school on Wednesday, March 18.
"Our faculty and staff did an exceptional job and were very quick making the conversion to fully online instruction,” said Dr. Seymour. “This was just another sign of the dedication and commitment of our employees to always take care of our students. Sure, there have been bumps in the road. Our students are facing many challenges in their lives in addition to college. We are trying to be as supportive and flexible as possible to help each student complete the semester successfully.”
While approximately 95 percent of the college’s employees are working from home, CSCC’s Campus Police / Security are continuing to function on campus, as well as the physical plant staff. While not direct employees of the college, the physical plant staff continue to take care of the campus at this time. The janitorial services have done extra work deep cleaning and sanitizing any and all high-traffic areas. In addition, in an effort to keep the safety and health of the students a top priority, a second step taken was the installation of hand sanitizers throughout Cleveland State.
According to Dr. Seymour, the CSCC Foundation has reactivated the Student Relief Fund originally created after the 2011 tornadoes. This fund provides emergency assistance for students experiencing financial hardships due to an unexpected crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond. During this current health crisis, student relief grants will help offset some expenses related to food, transportation, utilities, daycare or other financial needs.
Dr. Seymour continued, “We are still looking for donors to help support students who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, such as the loss of jobs.”
When asked if he had any words of encouragement to share with upcoming graduates, Dr. Seymour said, “Thank you for always letting us know what you think. This graduation is all about you and your accomplishments. Your faculty and staff look forward to celebrating with you. Finish cougar strong!”
For more information on how to give to the CSCC Student Relief Fund, visit mycs.cc/studentrelief. To learn more about the latest Coronavirus-related updates impacting Cleveland State, contact CSCC Director of Communication and Marketing Don Foley at 473-2341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.