Sackville Tribune - 2020-03-25


Mount A's graduation ceremonies postponed



SACKVILLE, N.B. – For the first time in more than a century, Mount Allison University has had to postpone its graduation ceremonies. Mount Allison president Jean-paul Boudreau said university officials made the unprecedented decision last week to delay the May 11 convocation ceremony and the alumni reunion weekend leading up to the big event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was a difficult decision but obviously it was the right one,” said Boudreau on Monday. He said while convocation is, of course, an important and significant event for graduating students, their families, and our community as a whole, it just wasn’t feasible to hold such a “large-scale event” at this time, given the current situation. “Our number one priority right now is the safety and well-being of our students, staff and faculty.” In an email he sent out to students, Boudreau said he shared in their disappointment but insisted the Class of 2020 won’t be forgotten. “Being able to mark this achievement with your fellow graduates, families, faculty members, staff, and others who have been part of your time at Mount Allison is a significant milestone and we want you to celebrate this experience, as each class has before you,” he stated in this email. “I understand how important this is and I want you to know we have your back.” Boudreau explained that the university has struck two working groups to develop a plan to celebrate this year’s graduating class. One committee will work on a process to confer degrees, which is important for students who are applying for work or to graduate programs; and the other will start working out the logistics of a convocation ceremony at a later date, perhaps in the late summer or early fall. “There will be a convocation and a reunion weekend, we just don’t know yet when that will be. It’s too early to predict,” he said, Boudreau said the last time Mount Allison postponed convocation was 1918, during the influenza pandemic following the First World War. He said he has been impressed with how the entire university community has been working together through this stressful time. The students and faculty all had to “pivot quickly” to find a way to finish up their year by taking courses online or through other alternative methods but they are forging ahead and everyone is supporting each other, he said. “It’s certainly not what anybody expected or wanted,” he said. “We are facing situations that challenge us all. But I think in times like these, it reminds us of the strength of our community. We will come out of this, and we’ll be stronger for it.”


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