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Graduation - Coronavirus (COVID19) update

Update on Graduation arrangements for students who will complete their degrees and/or awards by 15 September 2020

We are writing to provide an update on the University’s statement about graduation issued on 24 April 2020. At that stage we advised students expecting to graduate in September 2020 that holding a large-scale event this autumn might not be possible, and we have, as promised, continued to look at ways in which your achievements might be fully celebrated in a graduation event.

We have carefully considered a range of options, initially including the use of an external venue in the winter or spring when the weather can be unpredictable, making our usual marquee set-up on campus difficult to manage. We are aware that some Universities are also holding virtual graduations, whilst others have decided to postpone their 2020 celebrations until their usual graduation period in 2021. Some have cancelled altogether.

In considering all of the options, we listened carefully to feedback from the Students’ Union, which was clear that students and their guests would wish to come back to campus and enjoy the full “Harper experience”, including being able to celebrate more informally by holding an evening event in the Student’s Union. We have also noted that many events that involve large gatherings of people, including outdoor activities across the UK, are being postponed until 2021 or cancelled.

Balancing all of these points, in particular the advice we have received from the SU, and considering the health and safety of everyone attending the event alongside current government advice, we have decided that the best way to ensure we provide you and your guests with an event that can be safely held on campus is to plan for the Graduation Day for the 2020 cohort to be held on Friday 17 September 2021. We hope that this will mean we will be able to run the graduation for you in the normal way, enabling the celebrations to take place at the University with your families and friends. This date will also enable the SU to plan a really good Graduation Party for you all.

We will be in touch via your personal (non-Harper) email address in Spring 2021, with the full details of your graduation ceremony and information about how to register to attend the event. You are reminded to please update your personal contact information (postal address, non-Harper Adams email address and phone number) on e:Vision as soon as possible, because your Harper Adams IT account will be deactivated shortly after you complete your studies. This will ensure that you receive email updates about graduation and will also enable us to send your degree certificate and transcript, which are expected to be posted out by recorded delivery in the week commencing 28 September 2020.

We were disappointed that the final year photograph could not take place as usual. As you may be aware, the Student’s Union has confirmed that all 2020 final year students are invited to attend the Summer Ball in 2021 if they wish to do so. Student Services are arranging for a 2020 final year photograph to happen immediately before Summer Ball 2021 commences and we will let you know the arrangements for this in due course. We recognise, however, that not all 2020 graduates will be able to attend the Summer Ball, so we encourage you all to still take part in the on-line photo that is currently being arranged so that we have sufficient numbers for it to go ahead. Please reply to the email invitation that was sent to you on 11 June 2020 and upload your pictures by 30 June at midnight. You can contact for more information.

We hope that you will understand that we have considered all of the options for Graduation carefully and have not made this decision lightly. We really hope to see you all in September 2021 if not at the Summer Ball. In the meantime, well done on all your hard work this year, please keep in touch and please accept our best wishes for your plans for the future.

Dr David Llewellyn (Vice-Chancellor) and Thomas Oatey (SU President 2020/21)

Last updated 23 June 2020

Statement made on 24 April 2020

Graduation Day is a highlight in the academic calendar and a chance to celebrate all you have achieved during your time at the University. Whilst we had very much hoped that the September Graduation Day will be able to go ahead this year, we are sure that you will appreciate that we are not yet in a position to confirm that such a large-scale gathering will be possible at that time, given the views expressed earlier this week by Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Medical Advisor.

We wanted to let you know that we are looking at alternative plans, in case the September event cannot go ahead, and will be discussing our proposals with representatives of the Students’ Union as soon as we are able. This may take some time, because it is difficult to be certain, at this stage of the COVID-19 crisis and the Government’s response, about all of the options available to us.

We also wanted to say that we are committed to holding a Graduation Day when you can get together again, even if it has to take place later in the 2020/21 academic year or with different arrangements than normal.

At this point, we have decided to defer the opening of the online registration system until we are clear about the Government’s advice on social distancing. We will provide an update to your student email address as soon as we have a revised registration opening date.

We may need to change our Graduation Day plans at short notice, so we strongly advise you not to incur any expenses for travel or accommodation for the September date unless they are fully refundable. If you make such arrangements, you do so at your own risk. The University will not be able to refund any travel, accommodation or other expenses you or your families and friends have incurred in the event that the September Graduation Day is postponed. We also advise those who will be travelling from outside the UK, whatever the final date for the event, to check the travel advice for their home country before making any travel plans.

We are discussing the situation with the companies who contribute to our Graduation Day arrangements to seek their support. We are pleased to say that should postponement be necessary, we have been assured by our nominated gown suppliers that if you have pre-paid for gown hire this can be transferred to the new date for the Graduation Day or a refund can be made. Our official photographers have agreed a similar approach for pre-paid bookings. You will need to make these arrangements, and any alterations to them, directly with the relevant supplier.

The Students’ Union has asked us to say that Year Books purchased by students through the Students’ Union will be available at the graduation ceremony, or posted to you if you are unable to attend or should the event be postponed from September. The Students’ Union is also committed to ensuring that a post-Graduation party will take place following your graduation ceremony.

We will provide a further update on our plans as soon as we are able. Please be assured that we recognise the significance of this occasion for you all, and that, whatever arrangements we need to put in place, we will do our very best to make graduation a special day for you and your families and friends. We look forward to helping celebrate your graduation and, in the meantime, wish you all the very best for your studies in the coming term.

Last updated 24 April 2020

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