BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi announced on Wednesday that the school plans on holding in-person outdoor commencement ceremonies beginning on April 30th.
The ceremonies will take place from April 30th through May 16th at UB Stadium as well another outdoor event space that will be named at a later date.
17 commencement events will take place over the three week period at the two locations.
A decision will be made at a later date if guests are allowed to attend, and all ceremonies will be livestreamed.
Masks and social distancing are mandatory, as well as the university's weekly testing requirement for all students, staff, and faculty.
“Our positivity rate on campus is very very low," said spokesperson John DellaContrada. "The university’s a very safe place to be, our rate is less than 1%, and we’re confident our students will continue to do a good job abiding by those guidelines, and we can offer a safe outdoor commencement ceremony.”
DellaContrada said the 29,000 seat football stadium can hold 2,900 people under current guidelines. He said it will be the biggest event hosted on campus since the pandemic.
"Yet, despite very trying circumstances, you have met this moment with exceptional resilience, perseverance and ingenuity," Tripathi said. "Throughout, you have remained committed to your studies and steadfast in the pursuit of your life's goals. I, for one, couldn't be prouder — and I suspect our entire UB community shares this sentiment."
Restaurants near campus, like Forno Napoli Pizza & Italian Kitchen, said they hope families will return graduation weekend. They said pre-pandemic many out of towners come dine graduation weekend and while moving students out.
“We’re feeling that as this unfolds people will just be naturally drawn here, as a place near the campus to come and be with their families at the table,” said co-owner Felix Oliver.
You can view the entire schedule by clicking here.
On Monday, SUNY Buffalo State announced it will be holding a virtual commencement ceremony.
SUNY Fredonia says it will be holding a hybrid commencement. Graduates will have in-person stage walks in mid-April that will be recorded for a full commencement video to be released on May 15. The university said guests will not be allowed at stage walks.