CHICAGO (CBS)– University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign officials responded to a petition to reschedule graduation after more than 10,000 people signed in support.
Senior Daniele Klebern said she felt “dejected” when the University of Illinois announced the decision to cancel May graduation at its three campuses amid COVID-19 concerns.
“As a class, we deserve a commencement ceremony to celebrate our perseverance through these difficult years,” Klebern said. “Some of us are first generation students, or first generation U.S. citizens, for our parents, this is a celebration of all the sacrifices they made to get us here. Every long night, heartbreak, and loss was meant to lead us here.”
Klebern reached out to the dean of her college, who then forwarded her message to the Office of the Chancellor. She got a response that is giving hope to many in the university community.
The senior confirmed she received an email stating, “the university is already exploring the options for rescheduling Commencement at the time it is safe to come together in person again.”
A tweet from the university also confirms steps are being taken to reschedule an in-person ceremony.
While commencement won't be happening in person in May this year, we absolutely understand the importance of Commencement at #ILLINOIS.
We are actively exploring options for a rescheduled in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so and planning ways to celebrate our graduates. pic.twitter.com/eDHORjPCKN
— University of Illinois (@Illinois_Alma) March 18, 2020
“Coming out on the other side of this pandemic and walking across that stage, whether for ourselves or for our families, was always the right message to send for future graduates and for our community,” Klebern said.