Bates College plans a traditional graduation ceremony in May

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Steve Collins, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
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Mar. 12—LEWISTON — After cancelling its commencement ceremony last spring in the midst of a pandemic, Bates College plans to go forward with the tradition this year.

Bates President Clayton Spencer told the senior class in a letter Friday, "Given the challenges that you and other students have faced over the past two academic years, I am thrilled that we will be able to celebrate your graduation from Bates together, in person, on the Historic Quad."

The May 27 commencement will follow public health rules about the number of participants and social distancing, she said, by holding two full ceremonies with half the students at each along with two guests per graduate.

"The ongoing pandemic will continue to require patience and flexibility from all of us," she added. "I hope you will understand that while our goal is to host an in-person commencement with guests in attendance, our plans depend on the course of the pandemic over the next two months and state guidelines that apply at the time of the ceremony."

"Many details remain to be worked out," Spencer said, but the college wanted to let students and families know its intentions so they can make plans.

Spencer said Bates expects to maintain its traditional program at each of the two in-person ceremonies, including a class procession, speakers, honorary degrees and the chance for each senior to walk across the stage in front of the old Coram library building.

Bates will broadcast its commencement, as it typically has in recent years, so that friends and family who can't attend will be able to watch remotely.