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story.lead_photo.caption A file photo shows a past Southern Arkansas University graduation ceremony in Magnolia. - Photo by Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University announced Thursday that is has postponed its May 2020 commencement ceremonies and will combine them with the usual summer graduation ceremonies set to be held on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.

The school said in a statement that "Southern Arkansas University is committed to the safety and wellbeing of its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends," and that the University has been "forced to make unprecedented decisions in an effort to protect its most valuable asset -- its people."

The new commencement schedule is as follows:

Friday, August 7:

College of Liberal and Performing Arts- 11:00 a.m.

College of Education- 2:00 p.m.

School of Graduate Studies- 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 8:

College of Science and Engineering- 11:00 a.m.

Department of Nursing- 2:00 p.m.

Rankin College of Business- 5:00 p.m.

...

Degrees for spring graduates will be conferred in May and students will receive diplomas this summer, an SAU statement issued Thursday afternoon said. However, the University welcomes all graduates, along with their families and friends, to have the opportunity to celebrate this milestone by attending a full commencement ceremony in August.

Students will receive more information regarding these ceremonies from the Office of the Registrar in the coming weeks.

For the students set to graduate in May, transcripts will be finalized and diplomas will be mailed this summer following standard procedures, according to the school. The move will allow those needing the documents for the workplace or graduate school to have them.

“We are all in this together,” said Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president. “We will continue to do all we can in these unprecedented times to honor our students and the heritage of our institution, and we look forward to honoring another great class of graduates, as they become Mulerider alumni and share the Blue and Gold spirit across the world.”

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