- Why did UTSA decide to hold a virtual Commencement celebration for December 2020 graduates?
- Other events, like football, are being held in the Alamodome — why not Commencement?
- Is it possible to set up the Alamodome or another location for students only and have their Commencement ceremonies livestreamed so their family members can watch from home?
- Have you considered a special ceremony for doctoral or master’s students?
- I worked hard to complete my degree, and I’ve earned the right to walk across the stage.
- Who can I contact to share feedback about Commencement?
In our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UTSA has always placed the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty and visitors as our top priority. While the numbers in Bexar County currently are trending in the right direction, it is anticipated that the cooler months and the Thanksgiving holiday will bring a rise in COVID case numbers.
Additionally, because 95% of classes are being held online this semester, a virtual celebration allows us to be fully inclusive of the many UTSA students who are taking their final semester of classes remotely from their homes outside Bexar County and even outside Texas.
Under NCAA guidelines for COVID-19, athletics teams and their coaching staffs are operating as “bubbles” to reduce the spread of the virus. That’s not possible for the thousands of students, staff and faculty who come together to participate in each UTSA Commencement ceremony, not to mention the many friends and family members who come as spectators.
Also, social distancing guidelines would limit us to seating no more than a few hundred graduates on the floor of the Alamodome. With nearly 4,000 UTSA students set to graduate this semester—plus the more than 3,400 who earned their degrees in May—this is not a practical option, either in the Alamodome or in another location., even if multiple ceremonies were held.
Rather than try to work around these significant limitations that would make it impossible to produce an in-person celebration of the caliber our graduates deserve, UTSA is focusing on providing a high-quality virtual celebration and on-campus Commencement Drive.
3. Is it possible to set up the Alamodome or another location for students only and have their Commencement ceremonies livestreamed so their family members can watch from home?
Protecting spectators is not our only concern; we are also prioritizing the health and safety of our Commencement participants: the students, faculty and staff on the floor and stage, and those working behind the scenes at each ceremony.
All of our UTSA graduates deserve a special celebration, so we are not prioritizing particular groups of graduates in our planning.
We wholeheartedly agree. We know a virtual celebration in no way replicates the experience of commemorating this important life event in-person with your family and friends by your side, and we share your disappointment. That’s why UTSA is committed to resuming in-person Commencement celebrations once it is safe to do so. All UTSA graduates who earned their degrees in 2020—including the May 2020 graduates whose ceremonies were canceled at the onset of the pandemic—will be invited and encouraged to participate in an in-person ceremony in the near future, in addition to participating in the virtual Commencement in December. We promise to keep you apprised as our Commencement plans develop.
For any questions or comments regarding Commencement, please contact Commencement@utsa.edu.