The Student News Site of Southwestern Oklahoma State University

The Southwestern

The Student News Site of Southwestern Oklahoma State University

The Southwestern

Graduating Class of COVID

The end of the 2023-2024 school year is quickly approaching. With this being said, several SWOSU students are preparing to become official SWOSU graduates.

However, there is something different about this year’s graduation ceremonies. For the graduates that completed their collegiate schooling in 4 years coming right out of high school, many of them will partake in their first “traditional” graduation ceremony. This is due to COVID-19 interrupting the last part of their high school journey forcing them to go without a “traditional” ceremony or one at all.  

“On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic.”(Cai, Qiyue, et al.) From March 12th to March 25th, 2020 all schools in the US closed their doors for what they thought would be an extra week of spring break. By May 6th, 2020 nearly all states in the US closed their schools and universities for the ‘19-‘20 school year. However, this did not mean that learning stopped. Thanks to today’s technology accessibility, many schools were able to continue operating virtually with applications like Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Meets, etc. 


Looking at the effect COVID had at SWOSU, on March 12th, 2020, SWOSU announced: “As a precautionary and protective measure, SWOSU is transitioning all in-person classes to an online learning environment for the two-week period following Spring Break, beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3.”

This continued to be repetitive in emails sent to SWOSU students, faculty and staff until March 21st 2020. 

On March 21st 2020, Former SWOSU President Randy Beutler announced that “Southwestern Oklahoma State University is moving to FULLY VIRTUAL COURSE DELIVERY FOR THE REMAINDER OF SPRING SEMESTER 2020. This decision was made to further our efforts to reduce the number of individuals on campus.” In this email, it was also announced that “Graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place in May will be postponed. This decision was based on the recommendations of the CDC to cancel/postpone large group events. We are discussing possible modifications and options that will allow us to honor our graduates and celebrate their achievements at a late date.”

Faculty, Staff,  and Students continued to be updated on food and service refunds, updates about clinicals and internships, housing updates, etc. On May 4th, 2020, an email announced that “SWOSU INTENDS TO RESUME IN-PERSON TEACHING FOR THE FALL 2020 SEMESTER” An email sent by Randy Beutler 4 days later, would congratulate the college graduating class of 2020. “Finally, I would like to personally congratulate all of the 2019-20 SWOSU graduates!  Good luck in your future endeavors and come back to visit your alma mater.  I hope that you will consider participating in our commencement ceremonies, which are now scheduled for Saturday, December 12.  More details about this graduation ceremony will be announced later.” 

On July 6th, 2020, the fall schedule was announced. “Classes will start on the currently scheduled date – Monday, August 17. Campus will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 7. SWOSU will cancel Fall Break and classes will meet on October 15 and 16. Commencement will be held on November 20-21 with limited guest participation. More details will be announced soon on the website. Classes will meet as usual on November 23 and 24. After Thanksgiving Break, in order to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus from potential holiday travel, all classes will transition to virtual. We will have three days of virtual Dead Days, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Virtual finals will start on Thursday, December 3, and end on Wednesday, December 9.” 

Over a year later after the “official” start date of COVID, SWOSU announces their plan to return to normal operations during the fall of 2021-2022.


“The Class of 2024 will soon cross the stage at their universities – many donning a cap and gown for the first time. They are not only more educated but stronger for their shared experience. They endured everything we took from them, every pivot we asked of them and every ounce of patience we expected from them. They deserve not only our applause but also our admiration. This group of young adults showed us how to stand firm in a storm, not knowing when or how it will end. This perseverance will serve them well in their lives. It is a lesson they could not learn in a classroom. They discovered it is the light from within them that will guide them through the darkest days.” (Monlar, Pat)

The 2024 commencement schedule for Southwestern Oklahoma State University is below. 

Spring 2024 Commencement Schedule: 

Friday, May 3rd – 7pm College of Pharmacy: Fine Arts Center

Friday, May 10th – 6pm College of Nursing and Health Professions: PCEC Saturday, May 11th – 9am College of Arts & Sciences and 

          College of Business & Technology: PCEC 

Saturday, May 11th – 12pm   College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: PCEC

* PCEC = Pioneer Cellular Event Center



Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Amanda Taylor
Amanda Taylor, Photographer
Amanda Taylor is a sophomore from Hinton, OK majoring in Health Science/Radiology. Amanda is serving as a 1st year Orientaion Leader for SWOSU, as well as working for The Southwestern. She joined the team in November of 2023. Amanda is a photographer and co host of Southwestern on The Street.
Outside of college, Amanda is passionate about pursuing photography, spending time with family and friends, praising Jesus and watching softball. (Boomer Sooner)

Comments (0)

All The Southwestern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *