Back in March when COVID-19 first made its way to Chattanooga, a conclusion was reached to postpone commencement ceremonies until August. We hoped the virus would run its course and that we could safely celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 in August.

As we move forward with plans for fall semester, we were confronted by the following choice: Do we proceed with hosting large groups on campus for graduation ceremonies, or do we cancel the rescheduled events?

After many discussions with campus leaders, due to the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, overall—and Hamilton County, in particular—the Executive Leadership Team has made the painful decision of canceling commencement.

This was not a decision made in haste. We consulted with medical professionals and the consensus was that hosting events of this scale just days before the opening of the school year increased the risk of spreading the virus throughout our campus community. Coupled with the recent increase in local cases, we came to the heartbreaking conclusion that we could not host these ceremonies.

We know how much an in-person commencement means to our recent graduates and their families, but the health and safety of everyone at UTC must remain our number one concern.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call 423-425-4363.
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2 Comments » for Commencement not taking place due to virus
  1. Linwood T Ballard says:

    I am a parent of a recent UTC graduate.
    I cannot begin to express in words my disappointment at the decision by the University to cancel the commencement ceremonies and not present the graduates their moment of recognition for their achievements.
    I understand the importance of keeping everyone safe during these trying times, but it seems to me that there are many smart people at the university that could have figured out a way to recognize the graduates and at the same time minimize risk. It appears that the university focused all of their efforts on solving the issue of bringing students back and enrolling new students; and had little time to determine how to safely reward the students that dedicated years of their lives to UTC degrees!

  2. It’s probably for the best, as the virus does spread so fast… but the question is, how long can everyone keep hiding from the virus? At what point are people going to be so squeezed that they don’t care anymore?

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