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Commencement

"I pledge to all members of the ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020, families of upcoming Tiger graduates, and the University community, East Texas Baptist University is committed to proceeding with a Commencement ceremony." Dr. J. Blair Blackburn

Presidential Update | Spring 2020 Commencement Announcement

Dear ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020,

I am writing to you today to ease any concerns or worries regarding the status of ETBU’s Commencement ceremonies for Spring 2020 graduates due to the Coronavirus. On Monday, March 16 President Trump expanded guidelines for social distancing of no more than 10 people in social settings for the next 15 days and along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established guidelines of events with no more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

I pledge to all members of the ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020, families of upcoming Tiger graduates, and the University community, East Texas Baptist University is committed to proceeding with a Commencement ceremony. The passage in Hebrews 10:24-25 inspires me in this commitment, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We believe in the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates, acknowledging how the Lord has moved in your lives throughout your time on the Hill, and commemorating the start of new paths as you pursue your God-directed vocational callings.

Spring 2020 Commencement scheduled for May 9, 2020, will be postponed until we can set an appropriate date in 2020. After the Coronavirus spread flattens and we are given a recommendation of release from guidelines on events with large-size audiences from the CDC, we will celebrate the 2020 graduating class of ETBU with all the pomp and circumstance we can muster. Despite when we hold Commencement, your appropriate degree will be conferred and transcripted upon degree completion with all the rights and privileges appertaining to your degree. 

Because of the social distancing guidelines that serve to “flatten the curve” and mitigate the spread of the evolving COVID-19 situation, ETBU respectfully requests new graduates and their families to please understand our rationale for delaying Commencement for the health and safety of our campus community. However, no matter the steps we have to take, I want to reassure the University community that we fully intend for the ETBU Graduating Class of Spring 2020 to get their much-deserved, hard-earned recognition and opportunity for a jubilant celebration.

During this period of uncertainty, I am reminded of the scripture from 1 Peter 5:6-9, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 

East Texas Baptist University stands firm in the faith that God’s truths will be proclaimed during this time of anxiety and fear. We will carefully observe what happens in the coming days and weeks with the crisis facing our nation. With hope and trust in the Lord’s plan, ETBU will do everything we can to commemorate your milestone achievement of obtaining your respective bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

I look forward to the celebration!

Keep praying, carry on, and stay healthy!

J. Blair Blackburn
President
East Texas Baptist University

Information for Family Members and Guests

Commencement Ceremony: The Ceremonies will be announced at a later date.

Arrival Time: The doors will open one hour before the ceremony for guests to begin taking their seats. Tickets are distributed to graduates for distribution to their guests and are required for seating in Baker Chapel. Guests without tickets are welcome to watch via live video feed from one of three overflow rooms. Ticketed guests who are not in their seats in Baker Chapel by the beginning of the ceremony will forfeit their seats.

Parking: Limited parking is available at the Rogers Spiritual Life Center. Guests should follow event parking signs to park in the lot adjacent to the University Apartments.   

Overflow room/baby room information: Guests without tickets are welcome to watch the ceremony from one of three overflow rooms. Standard guest seating is available in two of these areas.  One of these, Anderson Chapel in the Rogers Spiritual Life Center, will be set up to accommodate families with babies or young children.

Ordering photos: Graduation photos will be taken by Daily Photography. Students will receive an order form during graduation practice on Friday that they can fill out and turn in to the photographers on Saturday.

Overflow room/baby room information: Due to fire code restrictions, seating is limited in Baker Chapel and tickets are required.  Overflow rooms will be available with a live stream of the ceremony in each room. Anderson Chapel in the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center will be available for any families with babies or young children.

Handicap Accessible Seating: Due to fire code restrictions, no wheelchairs or walkers may block aisles or exits in Baker Chapel. Seating for wheelchairs is available on a limited basis and must be requested at the time graduates pick up tickets from the Registrar. 

Information for Graduates

Tickets: Graduates may pick up their allotted tickets at a later date. Tickets will be required for all guests to enter Baker Chapel.  Any guest without a ticket will be seated in overflow areas.  Each graduate will be allotted nine (9) guest tickets. Additional tickets may be available upon request. To request to be added to the waiting list for additional tickets, students must use the Request to be on Waitlist for Additional Tickets form on the intranet under web tools. Email and phone requests will not be processed.

Rehearsal time:: Mandatory graduation rehearsal at a later date in Baker Chapel in the Rogers Spiritual Life Center at the same times as the Saturday Ceremonies.

Commencement Ceremony: The Ceremonies will be at a later date Baker Chapel in the Rogers Spiritual Life Center. 

Graduate arrival time: Graduates will need to meet in Mabee Recital Hall in the Jenna Guest Music Building by no later than 2 hours before the ceremony to check in with their Graduate Marshals. Doors will open for guests at 9:00 a.m.

Ordering photos: Graduation photos will be taken by Daily Photography. Students will receive an order form during graduation practice on Friday that they can fill out and turn in to the photographers on Saturday.

Appropriate dress for graduates: Students will need to be sure they have the appropriate ETBU issued navy blue regalia for the ceremony, and should come dressed in business casual attire underneath. Men will be required to wear slacks; no jeans or shorts will be allowed. The dress code also includes dress shoes, so no tennis shoes, converse, or flip flops will be permitted. For students wishing to decorate their cap, all decorations must be flat and only covering the flat top part of the cap. Nothing should be protruding from or hanging off of anyone’s cap. Students will be asked to remove any decorations that are deemed inappropriate or do not follow these guidelines.  Also, only ETBU issued cords and stoles will be permitted to be worn during the ceremony.

Rogers Spiritual Life Center