GAMBIER — Kenyon College announced Tuesday that it has decided to postpone its May 16 Commencement, with plans “to celebrate Commencement on campus at a later date” with the senior class.
The 192nd Commencement exercises at Kenyon would have been held on Samuel Mather lawn and featured the college’s first Asian-American keynote speaker, Class of 1996 Alumna Samie Kim Falvey, the chair of Image Television and former executive vice president of comedy development at ABC Entertainment. She has played a lead role in shaping some of America’s most popular television shows including “Modern Family.”
Mount Vernon Nazarene University President Henry Spaulding announced on MNVU’s ‘stay informed’ page March 25 that their commencement ceremony has been moved to August 15. The decision is conditional upon the directives from the state of Ohio and the Center for Disease Control.
The college also posted another update on March 30 that events scheduled for May will be decided upon by April 15 for rescheduling, if needed.
Kenyon, which holds just one commencement exercise per year finally decided there was no alternative given a global pandemic.
“While we recognize the importance of ritual in marking life transitions and tradition in strengthening the fabric of community, planning for a large-scale event in May would be both impossible and irresponsible, given current projections for the COVID-19 crisis,” the college’s statement read. “We are actively working with the senior class on plans to confer their degrees from afar at the start of the summer and to celebrate Commencement on campus at a later date.”
Kenyon also announces that it will Livestream its Honors Day ceremony on April 14. The ceremony, traditionally held in Rosse Hall, recognizes students who have achieved academic excellence, demonstrated special talents, and shown a commitment to service on campus or throughout the larger community.
Kenyon’s decision to postpone commencement comes during an academic year when Kenyon celebrated two important anniversaries. One was the 50th anniversary of the first cohort of female students admitted to the college in 1969, while the other was the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union. It also comes during a year of continuing steady construction progress made on the West Quad project to feature the Gordon Keith Chalmers Library, made possible through a $75 million anonymous gift. The West Quad project will also provide an academic building for the social sciences and a home to admissions and other student services.
Kenyon also announced Tuesday that the college has donated PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) to Knox Community Hospital. The equipment is primarily sourced from the science and studio arts departments.
News reporter Jamie Holland contributed to this story.