Statement on Graduation 2021 from Dean Robin Newhouse, IU School of Nursing

Dear students, families, and friends –

The recent announcement that Indiana University is requiring all schools to hold virtual graduate recognition ceremonies has caused much concern. I understand both your frustration and the importance of celebrating this milestone in your life and career with your family and those close to you.

There are two opportunities for you to celebrate graduation this year. The IUPUI Commencement ceremony will be in-person for students only, held at an outside location, with family able to attend virtually. This ceremony is the event that comes to mind when most people consider graduation - the President of IU and Chancellor of IUPUI presides. Our IU Trustees also attend.

The virtual event hosted by IU School of Nursing is the graduation recognition ceremony. I preside over both the undergraduate and graduate versions of this event as Dean of the School of Nursing; however, the decision to offer this event live or in-person resides with Indiana University. While not anyone’s first choice, the virtual event will provide you with an opportunity to celebrate with your family and friends.

President McRobbie sent a communication on February 22, 2021 regarding graduation. The full release can be accessed here: https://president.iu.edu/speeches/statements/2021/02-21-in-person-commencement-graduates.html 
I would like to share a small portion of that statement:

I am extremely pleased to be able to tell you that Indiana University expects to hold in-person, outdoor May commencement ceremonies on all of its campuses for both 2020 and 2021 undergraduate and graduate students. As delighted as we are to plan these commencement ceremonies, your health and safety – and that of every member of our campus communities – remains our top priority. Hence, in-person attendance will be limited to graduates only but family and friends are invited to attend commencement virtually.
-President Michael McRobbie

In addition, I refer you to this Q&A that answers many questions about graduation and contains the University’s statement that “The only in-person Commencement activities will be the official campus ceremony for graduates. All other recognition events will be held virtually.” https://commencement.iupui.edu/ceremonies/Commencement-FAQ/index.html 

All decisions about IU’s Commencement ceremonies and the required health and safety policies have been made by the university’s executive leadership, in consultation with the experts on Indiana University's Medical Response Team (IU MRT), which has led the university's comprehensive and successful public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year now. The IU MRT has continued to use data related to COVID incidence and prevalence as well as national guidelines to make decisions about returning to campus and safe distancing and convening policies. To ensure IU’s campuses remain among the safest places in the state during the ongoing pandemic, leadership is not considering expanding in-person attendance at Commencement. The health and safety of the IU community guides these decisions.

I am truly sorry that graduation this year will not meet your expectations. Our faculty, staff, and I personally share in your disappointment in the loss of the ability to be together to celebrate your graduation. I hope that you will RSVP for the in-person IUPUI Commencement and attend the virtual IUSON ceremony with your family and friends. It has been quite a different year than we ever expected.

Sincerely,

Robin Newhouse

Robin Newhouse, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Dean and Distinguished Professor
Indiana University School of Nursing
Deputy Chair, University Clinical Affairs Cabinet
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, IU Health