28 September 2020

cap and gownnewspages shutterstock_121337281.jpgThe University of South Australia will be the first university in the State to hold a physical graduation ceremony since the arrival of the COVID-19 virus earlier this year.

From Tuesday September 29 more than 1000 UniSA students will cross the stage under new rules that include much smaller ceremonies, but more of them. 

There will be 12 separate ceremonies in Pridham Hall, at UniSA’s City West campus from tomorrow until October 2.  Across the week, three shorter ceremonies will run each day, at 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.45pm. 

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says celebrating the milestone of having completed your degree is important in building a sense of confidence and achievement.

“It will be good to hold the formal ceremonies again, and even with COVID-safe conditions in place, there will be that all-important sense of occasion,” Prof Lloyd says.

“I know our graduates will be delighted to put on the cap and gown, be publicly recognised for their hard work and be able to share that special sense of achievement with their chosen guests.”

The ceremonies will be UniSA’s first since December.

In July UniSA conducted a student survey of all students who would be graduating in 2020, including those who missed their ceremonies during the lockdown period.

Almost 100 percent responded that they believed a physical ceremony was a significant milestone. More than 3700 said they would prefer to attend a graduation ceremony in person, even if ticketing was limited because of social distancing requirements.

In accordance with social distancing and health and safety recommendations, the seating at this week’s graduations has been arranged to accommodate the 1.5 metre distancing rules and there is a cap on the numbers of people able to attend at each ceremony.

Modifications have also been made to the numbers of staff in the traditional academic procession.

All graduates, their families and other guests have been required to register to ensure contact tracing is possible if required post the event.

UniSA postponed its April and May graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings, although all degrees were conferred, and parchments were instead sent to graduates by post.

Students who missed out on ceremonies earlier in the year have had the option to register and attend this week’s graduations.

Students canvassed from regional campuses, showed a preference to delay their ceremonies until next year when they can be staged in Whyalla and Mt Gambier.

Media contact: Michele Nardelli mobile 0418823673

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