Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Scarborough College will hold an in-person commencement ceremony on Dec. 4 at 10:00 a.m. for both spring and fall 2020 graduates, President Adam W. Greenway announced today.
“The central purpose for which Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College exists is to educate ministers of the Gospel for more faithful service,” Greenway said. “Celebrating the men and women who have completed their studies with an in-person commencement ceremony is a vital element of this institution’s mission. We will honor our graduates and commission them in their Gospel service, while also taking all appropriate precautions to minimize risk.”
The seminary had canceled its spring commencement ceremony last May due to COVID-19—the first such cancelation in the institution’s 112-year history. With proper precautions in place, however, the seminary’s leadership believes a fall commencement service is possible.
“I’m thrilled that we will be able to have our fall graduation in person on the campus,” said Randy L. Stinson, provost and vice president for academic administration, who explained that the school will be taking “COVID-related precautions” that include social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer, and multiple viewing venues.
The ceremony will take place in MacGorman Chapel, with only graduates, faculty, and production staff present in the room, Stinson said. The nearly 29,000-square-foot auditorium in MacGorman Chapel has a typical seating capacity of 3,367, which has been significantly reduced for social distancing purposes to less than 600. Currently, 331 graduates have indicated their intention to participate in the ceremony, along with approximately 80 faculty and staff.
Meanwhile, the graduates’ families will view commencement via a live simulcast from various locations across the Fort Worth campus. Social distancing will be employed in each location, and all attendees will be required to wear face masks. Stations for gatherings of families to meet with graduates following the ceremony will also be available across the 200-acre campus.
Spring graduates, who received their diplomas by mail, have been invited to return for the fall ceremony in order to formally walk across the stage alongside the fall graduates.
For family members and friends unable to attend, the ceremony will also be broadcast on Facebook Live.