CORRECTION: This story was updated at 12:08 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020, to correct the date of the Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony to August 7. It had incorrectly stated August 2.
Commencement ceremonies for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) students graduating this spring have been rescheduled for August due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
UTC Chancellor Steven Angle and Provost Jerold Hale announced the changes Thursday in an email to students and said the rescheduled dates are "pending CDC and COVID-19 developments."
The new dates include:
— Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony for all colleges: Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.
— Undergraduate Student Commencement for College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering Computer Science: Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 at 9 a.m.
— Undergraduate Student Commencement Ceremony for Gary W. Rollins College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies: Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 at 1 p.m.
"Walking across a stage and receiving a diploma is a momentous occasion for students, their family and friends, and the many members of the UTC faculty and staff that were part of the academic journey,"Angle and Hale said in the email. "UTC graduates earned their degrees and deserve a warm handshake, a pat on the back and a huge 'well done!' We are all looking forward to congratulating our Spring 2020 graduates."
The university surveyed graduating senior and graduate seniors for their thoughts on how and when to hold commencement ceremonies, according to the email.
"An August celebration was far-and-away the most popular. It will be an absolute honor to host these festivities commemorating our students' achievements," the email continued. "The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted operations at UTC, and we are continuously monitoring CDC guidelines. We know this is an uncertain and frustrating time."
UTC moved all of its spring semester classes online, like many colleges and universities across the country, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus and on March 18, university officials announced that a "UTC community member" had tested positive for COVID-19.
On-campus activities, athletic events and other school events have been canceled for the rest of the semester and most residence halls on campus are closed.
Additional details or changes regarding commencement ceremonies will be announced at a later date.
This is a developing story. Check back with the Times Free Press for updates.
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