Students graduating will get an invite to the virtual event in early June. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader/Fulcrum
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Graduates to receive diplomas by mail week following convocation

The University of Ottawa will hold its 2020 spring convocation online announced the University on Tuesday in an email sent to students who are set to graduate in June. The ceremonies will start on June 15 and will last for a week with students from all 10 U of O faculties set to graduate. 

“This spring we will share in a virtual convocation that will be an inspiring opportunity for you and your peers to come together, to be recognized for your efforts and accomplishments, and to have your degrees legally conferred upon you by uOttawa’s Chancellor, Calin Rovinescu.” wrote U of O president Jacques Frémont in an email to students graduating in June.

Students who have applied to graduate in June and have all the requirements to graduate will be sent a link to their virtual convocation by email in early June. The U of O says it will send 2020 class graduates their diplomas by mail the week after the convocation. 

“When the week of virtual convocation has concluded, we will be mailing your diploma to you so that you may receive it as soon as possible,” wrote president Frémont in his letter to graduates. “You have truly earned your degree and you deserve to celebrate, and to be celebrated. You should be every bit as proud to participate in this unique Convocation ceremony as you would in any other.”

The U of O says that a ‘special event’ is in the plans for next spring, public health guidelines permitting.  

“If public health guidelines permit, you will be invited to attend a special in-person ceremony next spring.” Wrote the U of O president. “At that time, all of this year’s graduates will be invited to walk across the stage in cap and gown, and in the presence of friends and family, to be congratulated and celebrated by your Dean, your President, and your Chancellor.”

A number of students from the spring 2020 class spoke to the Fulcrum about their thoughts on the U of O’s decision to hold a virtual convocation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was pretty sad when the University said that there won’t be an in-person ceremony,” said Hayat Robleh a graduating Digital Journalism student/ “But I understand that those measures have to be taken due to COVID-19.”

“The administration made the decision that they had to make given the circumstances,” wrote Zack Goobie a graduating Social Science student in a message to the Fulcrum. “They followed a precedent set by other schools. Ultimately, I think they made a wise choice to invite the class of 2020 for an in-person convocation in 2021. It’s definitely bittersweet to finish your undergrad like this, but its somewhat inevitable.”

“Graduating online is pretty disappointing seeing it’s a day we’ve been anticipating for four years but I fully understand the situation and I am glad to still have some form of ceremony,” said Molly De Barros a student who’s a graduating with a major in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Law.

“The fact that we are invited back next year to properly graduate is amazing, and I am very thankful that the University will be giving us the chance to cross the stage”

“Virtual graduation clearly shows how the university is a business,” wrote Chloé Dobbins a graduating Political Science student. “The U of O did not think twice about postponing the graduation, making it clear that universities are merely concerned with profit rather than creating memorable experiences surrounding academia.”

“Virtual graduation, what an anticlimactic way to finish, and ‘celebrate’ undergrad!”

The U of O joins a long list of post-secondary institutions that include McMaster and the University of Toronto that are holding their convocation ceremonies virtually.

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