Bates College won’t have its traditional graduation this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON – Bates College won’t hold a traditional commencement this year.

“Given where we are with the global pandemic, it is clear that it would be neither safe nor prudent for us to host an in-person commencement in May,” college President Clayton Spencer told seniors Monday.


Instead, the college plans an online ceremony May 31 “to create an experience that captures, albeit in a different form, the elements that are most meaningful to you,” she said.

The virtual commencement will be followed with something on campus once it is safe, probably not before the end of 2020-21 academic year, Spencer said.

The college plans to work with senior class officers “to determine the best way to solicit ideas and input from all members of the class” for the virtual commencement,” Spencer said.

Most of the colleges in New England have abandoned plans for an in-person graduation this year.

Bates sent its students home for the semester several weeks ago. It canceled its short term in May a little later after recognizing the COVID-19 threat would likely continue into the summer.

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