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Commencement Video Archives
George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. President/Chief Executive Officer
All NSU Faculty, Staff, and Students
George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. President and CEO
Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
NSU’s plans for in-person commencement events this spring
My fellow Sharks, although Florida has been experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases, the distribution of successful vaccines and our efforts to control the spread of this deadly virus gives me hope that there is “light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel” we have been traveling. I know how disappointed our graduates were last May when we had to have “virtual commencements” since there was no “light shining” then; consequently, it is my hope that by May of 2021, South Florida’s positivity rate will be under five percent. I say this because I anticipate that we will continue to strictly exercise safe protocols recommended by the CDC to control the spread of the virus, and, simultaneously, see a substantial increase in the vaccination rate, particularly in South Florida. As such, we are planning to hold commencement ceremonies with masks, physical distancing, and completely outside with sanitized seating and facilities—as long as the positivity rate in Florida is below five percent.
To enable us to maintain appropriate physical distancing for our graduates, our platform guests, and, of course, your families and friends, we are making arrangements to hold our series of graduation ceremonies where the Miami Dolphins play—at the Hard Rock Stadium—this May.
With the local positivity rate under five percent, NSU expects to award degrees in person to more than 8,500 bachelors, master’s, specialist, doctoral, and professional degree candidates, as well as to our graduating seniors from the NSU University School. It is a proud and distinguished moment for these graduates and their families and I genuinely want to see it happen; however, I also want to protect your health and safety. The ceremonies are being scheduled at the football stadium across four dates in May: May 16, 17, 18, and 19, 2021
We are planning for two ceremonies each day with time in between for the facility and platform to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized for the next group of graduates and guests. Our graduates and platform group will be seated at safe physical distance in chairs placed on the playing field and all of your guests will be accommodated in the spacious stands of this state-of-the-art facility.
I will make the final decision about graduations on April 15, 2021. If the positivity rate is under five percent in Florida, we will hold the ceremonies. If it is higher, with the greater concerns for public health, we will still have commencements; however, they will be virtual.
More details will be coming to you soon, but I wanted to let you know about the schedule and venue as soon as possible so you can begin to make your plans. The schedule of each college’s ceremony is below, and you can find additional details at nova.edu/commencement.
· Thursday, April 15: Final decision regarding positivity rate. Letter from me will be forthcoming.
· Sunday, May 16: College of Law (morning); NSU University School (afternoon)
· Monday, May 17: All Undergraduate Programs (morning); College of Business (afternoon)
· Tuesday, May 18: Dental Medicine, Psychology, Allopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine (morning); Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy (afternoon)
· Wednesday, May 19: Halmos College, Computing and Engineering, Fischler College (morning); Health Care Sciences (afternoon)
I am aware that this is not the usual schedule of graduations for NSU, but in these extraordinary times, and in order to give you the in-person experience you so desire, we must take advantage of the availability of the Hard Rock Stadium as our venue, since it is one of a very few that can accommodate the size of our gatherings in a safe and appropriate manner. Certainly, we will enjoy some of the amenities of this wonderful facility, including availability of concessions, plenty of free parking, and much more. We’re even planning to provide free NSU ponchos to the graduates and platform group seated on the field, just in case. Additional details about your graduation day will be forthcoming as we finalize our negotiations with the stadium.
Again, I didn’t want to delay any longer communicating this important graduation consideration on the part of NSU to provide in-person commencement events in May 2021. I am very excited and gratified in the hope that I will be able to truly see all of you on your graduation day this spring. We may be wearing our face coverings and maintaining our six-foot perimeter, but we will be sharing this well-earned and very proud milestone together with all of our Shark family.
Fins up and see all of you graduates this May!
George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. President and CEO Nova Southeastern University