UNION, NJ – In a letter to graduating students, Kean University’s President said they have a team of people developing a virtual commencement plan.

The letter from President Dawood Farahi said the virtual ceremony will not only include the “speeches and performances that are typically part of our commencement ceremonies, it will include the chance for each of you to shine with personal messages, images and content that you submit and share social media and more.”

“This year’s commencements would have been very special for me personally since they would have been my last as president of Kean University,” added Farahi in the letter.  "I was very much looking forward to seeing your smiles and sharing in your joy and pride at those ceremonies. But this was not meant to be.”

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Farahi said although they cannot hold ceremonies at NJPAC or the Prudential Center, they have a “team of people developing a virtual commencement plan that will celebrate each of you individually.” 

A student online petition (Make Kean University postpone graduation commencement!), currently with over 7,900 signatures, is asking the university to reconsider and postpone the ceremony until later.  “This petition isn't meant to disregard the health and safety of others,” read the petition, “those two things are the most important and should not be jeopardized. Rather, it is to acknowledge this is a special time not only for the seniors, but for friends and family as well. This is our last time to be together as we embark on our next journey.”

In his letter, Fahari said they have met with student leaders about their concerns over missing the chance to walk across a stage at graduation. “And we understand.”

Fahari said while the University cannot guarantee anything because of the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are considering plans to hold smaller, separate commencement ceremonies on campus for each of Kean’s colleges sometime in late summer. “This would give each of you the opportunity to walk across the stage and accept your diploma to the cheers of your family, friends and classmates.”