March 25, 2020
Dear Class of 2020,
As I write to you from Blaney House, I am certain you are feeling a myriad of emotions. This is not how you envisioned your senior year as an undergraduate, or the way you would conclude the hard work you have been investing toward your master’s, doctorate or professional degree.
Though the University is still moving forward with education in new ways and we are connecting with each other via technology, it is not quite the same. You cannot smell the tulips blooming outside the Mountainlair or gather for one last group photo in front of Woodburn Hall.
No one understands and empathizes with your disappointment more than our faculty and staff. We love and treasure you for all the energy, ideas and joy you bring to our campus. We have watched you take your first steps on campus, find your bearings and blossom into brilliant, young minds who have pursued their dreams with passion and with purpose.
We are so proud of each and every one of you.
And that is why we cannot imagine sending you into the world without a proper celebration.
To do that, West Virginia University will offer two occasions to honor our Class of 2020.
On Saturday, May 16, we will hold Mountaineer Graduation Day – an online commencement experience that will allow you to share your celebration with your classmates, family and friends, as well as special moments to connect you with the University you love. All of Mountaineer Nation will be supporting and cheering for you on one of the biggest days of your life. And shortly after the virtual commencement, you will receive your diploma in the mail.
We realize, however, that a virtual experience can never replace hearing your name called as you walk across the stage to receive your diploma. Therefore, we will hold a special commencement ceremony for all May graduates on Saturday, Dec. 19 to recognize your accomplishments.
And I will be there ready to give each and every one of you the biggest hug possible.
You are truly a special class. And this experience will be just one of many that will shape you throughout your life. Though the time in which we find ourselves is one of the most challenging our nation has ever faced, we know that our campus, our state and our country will come together again – stronger and more resilient than ever before. After all, we are Mountaineers.
So, continue to pursue your studies with fervor. Lean on the friends and family who have always supported you when you get stressed or overwhelmed. Have patience with each other. And know that we will all prevail together.
And when we do, we will celebrate the achievement for which you have been working so diligently. We will honor you – a graduate of West Virginia University.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University