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Commencement 2020 to take place as vehicle parade due to pandemic

Graduation will look a little different this year with the June 12 commencement taking place in vehicles as graduates parade in cars through campus. Students are encouraged to decorate their cars for the event.

The event will be livestreamed on the college’s YouTube channel, as well as being broadcast on Brooke Communications. If necessary, graduates can also tune in to i101 to hear the ceremony. The event will be recorded on YouTube for later viewing.

The change is UCC’s response to a national effort by schools to mark their students’ important milestones without jeopardizing their safety because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. While some schools have decided to host graduation virtually, others have turned to vehicles to maintain social distancing measures.

Graduates must arrive at the Wayne Crooch Hall parking lot by 5 p.m. and remain in their cars at all times. All facilities will be closed, including restrooms, so students must plan accordingly. If a student does not have transportation, they may contact ASUCC at to make other arrangements. Students are asked to bring only one car apiece, but may invite as many guests as can ride in the vehicle safely. Cars parking along Umpqua College Road are also prohibited, because they restrict emergency access.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. A commencement address will be read by UCC President Debra Thatcher after the procession moves to Jacoby Auditorium, and there will be a streamed performance by the Umpqua Singers. Students will also be handed their diploma covers, while their name and degree is read. Afterwards, the procession will move up the hill past the Whipple Fine Arts Center and to the P.E. Complex past a spaced line of faculty and staff.

“I believe that every high school and university is doing the best they can to be able to fulfill the graduation experience for every graduate and their families,” says Angel Mae Bioy, a UCC student who is transferring to Western Oregon University in the fall to major in language arts. “They are working with the circumstances, which leads colleges, like UCC, to think of unique ways to hold this event. I also think that streaming the event live on YouTube is a creative idea because there is a limited amount of family and friends each graduate can bring, so the people who aren’t able to be there can at least watch it on their phones, laptops or computers.”

UCC also considered other options for commencement. Students were polled, and asked whether they would prefer for commencement to happen virtually, take place in the fall, or be combined with the class of 2021’s ceremony.

“Student feedback indicated they would really like an in-person celebration,” says Missy Olson, the dean of enrollment management. Olson is on the committee tasked with making the decision. “As there was no guarantee when a large gathering could take place based on the governor’s orders, and we wanted to find a time when faculty were available to participate in the celebration, this option was the best choice. We could combine a streamed celebration with an in-person component.”

Cap and gown pick-up will happen on Thursday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the UCC library. Honor stoles will be available for qualifying students, but they must be returned by Monday, June 15, or a fee of $30 will be charged to the student’s account. Additionally, students who are Phi Theta Kappa members may purchase PTK regalia by calling Student Accounts at 541-440-7660, and then calling the Information Desk at 541-440-4600 to let them know which item(s) they purchased. A time can then be scheduled for pick-up.

Any questions regarding commencement can be emailed to with “Commencement 2020” in the title.

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