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Gonzaga, WSU Graduations Complete; Whitworth Is Next

Screenshot from Whitworth University video

Gonzaga University handed out diplomas over the weekend to law school students, graduates and undergraduates. Washington State honored its health sciences students in Spokane on Thursday and Friday.

Whitworth is next in the commencement queue. Here's what the graduating Pirates can expect during their Covid-influenced ceremony.In non-Covid years, Whitworth University goes off campus to hold its main commencement ceremony inside the Spokane Arena. This year, it’s joining other institutions in planning open-air festivities. Emilee Langbehn-Bosh, who is Whitworth’s assistant registrar and commencement coordinator, says the events will be held at the campus football stadium.

“It will be the first time since the 1970s that Whitworth has hosted at the Pine Bowl. We’re really excited about it because it will be such a wonderful, unique experience to, one, be able to hold something in person, but, two, to be able to hold it on our campus," she said.

Whitworth’s 131st Commencement Weekend will run from May 21-23. It will include three ceremonies, one for undergraduates, one for grad students and one for last year’s class, which missed its chance to walk across the stage.

“About half, actually, are coming back," she said.

They’ll be coming back to a different setting, but not a radically different ceremony, other than the masks and hand sanitizing and all the rest.

“We’re trying to retain as much of the traditional pieces of our ceremonies as we can safely retain. We will still do physically-distanced recessionals with our faculty and our students will still walk the stage. They will still get their diploma covers," Langbehn-Bosh said.

It may be a little different, but the hope is students will also get the lifelong memories that often go along with a big event like graduating from college.