2020 Commencement to be held virtually
August 18, 2020
Last Spring, we decided to postpone our 2020 Commencement celebration, planned for May 30, to September 26, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, Ohio was observing a stay-at-home order and data suggested that the pandemic would be sufficiently under control to safely gather together in the fall.
We have been watching closely reports about the pandemic throughout the summer. As of August, the pandemic continues to take about 1,000 American lives each day, and gathering in large groups continues to put people at risk of contracting the disease. The State of Ohio discourages any mass gatherings and limits travel to Ohio from any state with a positivity rate of 15% or higher. Furthermore, Montgomery County, in which the Seminary is located, is under public emergency level 3 (out of 4), making it among the highest risk counties in Ohio.
In order to protect the health of everyone concerned, we have made the difficult decision not to hold Commencement in person. Instead, we will honor our graduates through an online commencement service at 10 a.m. on September 26, 2020.
Graduates will receive their diplomas in the mail. We are inviting graduates to send a photo of themselves in graduation attire and holding their diploma, which we will display on the screen as Dr. David Watson, Academic Dean, recognizes the graduates during the ceremony.
We encourage graduates to invite family and friends to watch the ceremony online to celebrate this high achievement in their lives. A link and program for the online commencement service will be distributed at a later date.
During the service, Bishop Sir Walter Mack, pastor at Union Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a Senior Mentor in our Doctor of Ministry program, will share the commencement message. United will also confer to Bishop Mack an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his outstanding leadership in his congregation, state, nation and internationally.
We thank God for the faith, persistence, and commitment that enabled our graduates to achieve their academic goals and to live out their call in serving God and neighbor and making new disciples of Jesus Christ.
God bless you all in the next step of your spiritual journey.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Kent Millard
Dr. David Watson
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Mr. Jim Tharp
Chair, Board of Trustees