OSU 2020 Commencement Postponed

In light of Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement today extending social distancing and remote learning regulations for the state of Oregon through June 12, 2020, it is not possible to hold OSU’s Corvallis Commencement ceremony on June 13 or OSU-Cascades’ Commencement ceremony on June 14 in Bend.

Therefore, I write to share that Oregon State University’s 2020 Commencement exercises in Corvallis and Bend will be postponed until a later date, possibly to be held in the fall. This decision is in keeping with the university’s measures to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 and is in compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders addressing the pandemic.

This was not an easy decision to make. OSU Commencement is a tradition that was begun 150 years ago with three students and now celebrates the distinguished achievements of more than 7,000 graduates annually and is attended by more than 25,000 guests and university faculty and staff. Yet, postponing Commencement to a healthier time is the right choice and is strongly supported by our students. This postponement decision also acknowledges that the university has never cancelled Commencement in its history.

A survey recently conducted among Corvallis students on track to graduate this spring by the President’s Office and ASOSU President Rachel Josephson received more than 2,500 responses. Of this total, 66% supported rescheduling Commencement to a later date; 24% supported holding a virtual ceremony; and 10% supported cancelling Commencement as a result of COVID-19. At OSU-Cascades, a similar survey was conducted by the President’s Office, OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson and Associated Students of the Cascades Campus President Ben Chavez. The OSU-Cascades survey received several hundred responses, indicating 76% favored rescheduling Commencement to a later date; 10% favored holding a virtual ceremony; and 7% favored cancelling Commencement.

Moving forward, I will ask university staff to plan for Corvallis Commencement 2020 to be held on an alternative future date based upon our public health recovery from COVID-19 and the availability of Reser Stadium; and to plan for OSU-Cascades’ Commencement to be held on an alternative date based upon public health and the availability of a suitable location in Bend.

We will provide you information on these dates as soon as possible.

Until then, join me in continuing to support all OSU students on their path to graduate this spring and in future years.

And as the invited speaker for our Corvallis 2020 Commencement – and as an attendee at OSU-Cascades’ Commencement – I invite you to join me in being Beaver strong and Beaver loud when celebratory 2020 commencement events are held in future months for our more than 7,000 graduates.


Edward J. Ray