University of East Anglia cancels graduation ceremonies for second time

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This article was originally published on the Eastern Daily Press website on 31st March 2021.

A Norwich university has been forced to postpone its final year students’ summer graduation ceremonies for the second time. 

The University of East Anglia cancelled its July’s graduation ceremonies last summer due to the coronavirus outbreak and said it would explore options in the future to mark and celebrate students’ hard work.

But the UEA announced it was postponing events marking graduation again this summer in a campus-wide email to students this week.

UEA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Richardson, informed students that new ceremonies were instead being planned for summer 2022. 

Students who graduated in 2020, 2021 or 2022 will be able to return to UEA to celebrate graduating during this period.

He told current students and 2020 graduates in an email: “It is with a great deal of sadness that unfortunately, I have to announce that this year’s graduation ceremony has been postponed”.

Mr Richardson added that delaying the ceremonies until 2022 meant “the pandemic will be under greater control and social restrictions will hopefully be completely lifted, to enable all our students to come back to UEA to celebrate their graduation in the way they want to.”

Hundreds of UEA students returned to the Norwich campus for the first time since lockdown earlier this month.

But the university has called for clarity about when all students can return as leaders fear delays could see many not back to face-to-face on-campus learning until mid-May.

Mr Richardson said the decision to postpone graduation had been taken amidst increasing concerns over a third wave of the pandemic occurring in summer, alongside consultations he held with students and students’ union representatives on what they expected from a graduation ceremony.

Fourth year student, Sam Bruty, said: “It’s a bit disappointing but, to be honest, it’s no surprise, especially given the possibility of a third wave. Maybe I’ll come back next year for graduation if it goes ahead.”

Holly Cooper, a biochemistry Master’s student, said: “It’s a shame, I would have liked to celebrate with my friends and family but I do understand why it can’t go ahead. 

“Me and my friends might have our own makeshift celebration instead – go out for dinner or have a BBQ.”

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