Decision to Cancel In-Person Event Was Made as a Result of Fast-Spreading COVID-19 Variants and to Protect Health and Safety of Graduates, Guests, Faculty and Staff
An Estimated 10,000 People Were Expected to Attend Ceremonies at Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.
Adelphi, Md. (Dec. 16, 2021) — Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of graduates and guests, as well as that of faculty, staff and event personnel, University of Maryland Global Campus has cancelled its winter commencement ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, December 18, at Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.
An estimated total of 10,000 people—including graduates, guests and staff—were expected to attend two separate ceremonies at Xfinity Center.
In a message to the UMGC community, President Gregory W. Fowler said: “We recognize that many institutions are wrestling with decisions of this nature, balancing the desire to host in-person events with the larger responsibility of protecting our communities, and it is in that spirit that we have taken this step.
“We celebrate the accomplishments of every graduate, and we are heartbroken that we cannot celebrate with them in person,” Fowler continued. “Rest assured that every graduate will be invited back to participate in an in-person ceremony in the future, when conditions allow.”
Graduates have been invited to visit a virtual recognition gallery after 8 a.m. Eastern time on December 18 to view a special commencement message and to visit the personalized recognition slides honoring UMGC’s more than 7,000 graduates.
In the state of Maryland there have been 1,866 new COVID cases reported in the past 24 hours, increasing the total number of cases in the state to 592,679, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, positive cases of the Omicron variant will likely spread faster than the original strain of the virus and have now been detected in 36 states, including Maryland. The first case in the U.S. was identified on December 1.