In an email sent Monday morning, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns announced the cancelation of the spring 2020 commencement ceremonies.

"For two weeks, I have held out hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would abate, so that we could proceed as scheduled," Mearns said. "But the increasingly aggressive guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the very strict orders emanating from state and local officials, have made it abundantly clear to me that there is no reasonable possibility that we will be able to conduct our Commencement ceremonies on May 2, 2020."

He said the university must now focus on developing alternative plans to celebrate the success of Ball State graduates. Ball State has made available a commencement survey for students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and its donors to suggest an alternative.

The alternatives listed in the survey include:

  • A dedicated ceremony on the afternoon or evening of July 17
  • Combination of spring and summer graduation ceremonies at the university's summer commencement July 18.
  • Option to attend the fall commencement on Dec. 19 due to inability to attend the summer commencement.
  • Attend a celebration event on a Saturday in the fall 2020 semester, instead of a formal commencement ceremony.
  • A virtual ceremony along with the option to participate in one of the in-person ceremonies or celebrations listed above.
  • Uninterested in attending commencement any longer.

Once the university has had the opportunity to review feedback and investigate the viable alternatives, Mearns said he will provide more information.

Graduating students with questions about cap and gown packages should contact Ball State's campus bookstore by phone or email.

"I continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we navigate the challenges presented to us as a result of this unprecedented public health crisis," Mearns said. "Together, we will create a brighter future."

Ball State joins other universities in the state like Indiana University, Purdue University, Butler University and Indiana State University in canceling in-person commencement ceremonies.