Gone too soon: Gonzaga seniors discuss early departure concerns

Gonzaga seniors are concerned the spring 2020 commencement may be canceled, following campus closing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh sent out an email on March 14 stating that courses will be held online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. 

“Governer [Jay] Inslee announced that he was, under an emergency declaration, restricting activities at all public and private colleges and universities to prohibit them from conducting in-person classes with the exception of labs and clinical courses (as long as ‘social distancing’ is introduced and maintained),” McCulloh said. 

Inslee’s declaration is effective from March 17 until April 24. 

The prospect of finishing the remainder of the semester online has many students worried about what Inslee’s declaration and GU's subsequent plan of action mean for graduation. 

“I’m really worried graduation will be canceled and I won’t get to walk, especially because I missed my high school graduation for my brother’s wedding,” senior Anya White said. 

Universities around the nation, according to Associated Press News, have made the decision to cancel commencement ceremonies, such as University of Michigan, Brigham Young University, Grinnell College, West Texas A&M, Grambling State and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Emotions are high as students begin to navigate the remainder of the semester online.

“It’s sad because all our lasts probably aren’t going to happen,” senior Alyssa Drinkwine said. 

This sentiment is shared by many of her classmates. 

“I’m sad about the way things have ended," senior Alyssa Groscost said. "It’s the worst kind of cliff hanger. It’s confusing and my thoughts have been preoccupied with the evolving information on how to provide protection to those among us most vulnerable." 

The White House issued a statement on March 16 that advised the public to avoid groups larger than 10 people. 

“I know that this is a very challenging circumstance within which to plan and work, and I appreciate so much the patience and flexibility that people have demonstrated during this time,” McCulloh said. 

The prospect of commencement being canceled continues to loom over students. McCulloh encourages students to regularly review the university website for updates (www.gonzaga.edu/coronavirus). 

“We will continue to monitor and communicate about this situation, which at this point is literally evolving on an hourly basis,” McCulloh said.

Ginger Monroe is a staff writer.

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