Today's Update: Monday, April 20

April 20, 2020

Dear Student Life Team,

I’ve found that the passage of time is more than just dates on a calendar, it is marked by occurrences associated with those dates. Trees and flowers are blooming, so I know that it is spring.  

Our new COVID reality has disrupted all the cues of the academic calendar. Our life on campus usually has its own rhythms and mileposts, and it feels strange to be without them. Tomorrow would be Reading Day and Final Exams would start on Wednesday in ordinary times, but it’s hard to relate to that now.  

I’m pleased that commencement is where it “should” be, even if it will look quite different this year. As I’ve mentioned, and you’ve heard from President Drake, it will be a virtual celebration on Sunday, May 3. You can view it by livestream that day.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be the speaker. Insiders tip: See what Buckeye promotional items he has with him. Student Life’s Rachel Conners supplied some things he might like to display. A large portion of the program will be on video, and our own J Randall Hicks is helping with that part of the ceremony. 

Last Friday, I sent a note to all those graduating outlining the plans as they are unfolding, and thought it might be helpful to share some of the information with you. The university is also posting updates at

Commencement will last approximately one hour. There is no registration process, so anyone can view it online. We also expect it will be broadcast live on television, although those details are still being worked out.  

While the degrees will be conferred on May 3, many students have asked when they will receive their diplomas. Since Ohio is under a stay-at-home order, we are unable to coordinate the mailing of diplomas and honors cords until it is safe for university personnel to return to campus. But I’ve promised students we will make it a priority to mail diplomas as soon as possible once we’re back.  

It is always fun to watch the graduation celebration unfold on social media, and we are encouraging students to use #OSUGrad. Whether they’re wearing their cap and gown or sharing this moment with those who supported them through their academic journey, we want to see how they are marking this occasion. Those who share may be featured as part of the May 3 celebration. 

Of course, this event doesn’t replace an in-person recognition for the Class of 2020. That will happen later, when it’s safe to be together, but we are already hearing suggestions and making plans for it.  

I am grateful to our students for their patience and flexibility, and to you for those same traits.

Together, we will get through this with resilience and spirit. Together, we are Scarlet and Great!