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Northwest Nazarene University Joins Other Idaho Schools Holding In-Person Graduations

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NNU Facebook page
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Northwest Nazarene University holds a commencement ceremony in this undated file photo.

Northwest Nazarene University is the latest Idaho higher-ed institution to announce it’ll hold graduation ceremonies for its students this spring.

NNU will hold two commencement ceremonies for 290 undergrads and 250 graduate students in May. Both will be livestreamed for those who can’t or don’t feel safe attending.

Each student may invite up to six guests to attend.

Both events will be held outdoors on the Brandt Center lawn. Guests will be separated into pods of six and distanced from other groups. Students will be required to wear masks, though guests will not.

Mark Cork, associate vice president for marketing and communications at NNU, said the number of COVID-19 cases at the school dropped dramatically over the fall.

“Then, as we’ve gotten closer, it just became apparent that there was really no reason that we should not have a face-to-face commencement ceremony,” Cork said.

As of Monday afternoon, the school reported three active cases and 15 cases total among faculty, staff and students over the past month.

NNU delayed its 2020 commencement until last fall due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cork said students at the private, Christian university voted overwhelmingly in favor of returning to campus, in part so they could have an in-person graduation.

“It just seems like to be able to do that kind of as the culmination, just as the academic year comes to a close, is very meaningful for both the students and the faculty,” he said.

All of Idaho’s public four-year colleges and universities plan to hold in-person graduations this year as well.

Boise State will hold three commencements outdoors at Albertsons Stadium May 7 and 8, including one for the class of 2020. University of Idaho will split into six graduations May 15 and 16 at the Kibbie Dome. Idaho State University will hold three ceremonies at Holt Arena next month. Lewis-Clark State College’s three commencements are set for May 14 at Harris Field.

College of Idaho plans to hold a single graduation ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021 on May 29.

BYU-Idaho’s commencement for Winter 2021 graduates will be online only. The private, LDS university hasn’t yet announced plans for its Spring 2021 graduates, though some kind of ceremony is scheduled for July 21.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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