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FSU plans virtual commencement ceremony

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Unable to hold traditional graduation festivities because of the coronavirus pandemic, Florida State University will host a virtual commencement ceremony May 2, the university announced Thursday.

President John Thrasher will lead the ceremony, which will be streamed on the university’s website, Facebook and YouTube.

The ceremony will come after FSU and other schools across the state and country have shifted to online classes this spring to try to limit the spread of the virus.

“We were all heartbroken when the coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel spring commencement at the Tucker Center,” Thrasher said in a prepared statement, referring to the university’s Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. “We still want to recognize our students on graduation day and award the academic degrees that they earned through years of study and hard work. Hopefully, this virtual ceremony will give our graduates and their loved ones an opportunity to participate in a meaningful shared experience.”

The ceremony will include such traditional flourishes as an opening processional to the song “Pomp and Circumstance” and the official conferring of degrees. Thrasher and several other university leaders will take part in the ceremony “while observing social distancing guidelines,” an FSU news release said. Graduates and their guests will not be present.

The university plans to hold a future campus gathering for the graduates.

“When it’s safe to do so, we hope our spring graduates will come back to campus so we can celebrate together,” Thrasher said. “In the meantime, we hope they will participate in this virtual ceremony and share their commencement photos and videos with the university community via social media.”