University College Dublin (UCD) will be holding virtual graduation ceremonies this September due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the UCD Conferring Unit.
Jennifer McGowan, Conferring and Awards Assistant at the UCD Conferring Unit, confirmed to a student by email that upcoming graduation ceremonies “will be virtual, but we will be letting students know if this changes”.
In a separate case, a staff member from administration in the Sutherland School of Law disclosed to a student in an email that graduations “will be done remotely this year due to Covid restrictions”.
UCD have not yet made an official announcement regarding how final year students will attend their conferring ceremonies, which are due to begin the week of Monday, August 31st.
Over 220 final year UCD Medicine students were conferred in absentia via a virtual ceremony in May – two months before the traditional graduation period in July – in an effort to fast-track qualified professionals into the health system during the pandemic.
Several other courses, including Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, and Radiography, also held their graduation ceremonies online prematurely in June. All other degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate, have had their ceremonies postponed to later dates, ranging from August to December 2020.
Currently, these ceremonies are due to take place in the O’Reilly Hall, according to a timetable published on the UCD Conferring Unit’s website. However, it is uncertain as to whether they will still be celebrated on campus, given the conflicting information that has recently surfaced from the UCD Conferring Unit email.
UCD is not the only university that has not disclosed a clear plan for graduation ceremonies – University College Cork has not yet confirmed what format their Autumn conferring ceremonies will take, nor has NUI Galway or the University of Limerick. Maynooth University has confirmed that their September and October Conferring ceremonies will held virtually in 2020.
Nessa Collins – Reporter