WKU graduation looks different this year

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- On Saturday, the Houchens Stadium is going to be filled with thousands of Western Kentucky University students graduating. But it’s going to look different from graduations in the past. 

Due to COVID, the university will split the day up into two ceremonies: graduates of the Business college and Health and Human Services will be at 10 a.m. Graduates of the College of Arts and Letters, Education and Behavioral Sciences and Science and Engineering will be at 6 p.m. 

Bob Skipper, director of Media Relations says the students are looking forward to it, especially since there wasn’t a ceremony last year. 

“Our students want and deserve recognition for this accomplishment. It’s a big deal for them to earn a college degree. And we want to recognize that. So we’ve been working hard to put together a meaningful ceremony that’s still safe. It won’t look like what we’ve done in the past in a lot of ways. But it still will have meaning and I think the students have indicated that they are really wanting this,” said Skipper. 

The walk and commencement will follow Healthy on the Hill guidelines, meaning masks and social distancing will be required. 

WKU student Seth Newby said it means so much to him to have an in person ceremony rather than virtual. 

“It’s just very different actually getting to walk across in front of the stage. And graduating with your peers, seeing them all together, it’s just like a manifestation of getting to graduate,” said Newby. 

And Skipper said two things were most important to students. One, that their friends and family are there- they will receive six tickets for the Houchens Stadium and overflow seating will be in Diddle Arena. And two, that they are recognized. 

“They will be able to walk if they want up to the stage to receive their diploma. So not only do they get recognized with their name and then their guests can then see them as they actually approach the stage,” said Skipper. 

Skipper also said that students that graduated and didn’t have a ceremony due to the pandemic are welcome to come to this one. 

That ceremony for 2020 graduates will be the following weekend on May 8.