NIU will not hold an in-person commencement for its spring and summer 2020 graduates, the school announced on its website Tuesday.
The event, originally slated for August 7 and 8, will be postponed, but no new date has been established.
In a letter to students, president Lisa Freeman said the university is exploring options for a virtual or in-person ceremony at a to-be-determined date.
"While we want to acknowledge your accomplishments, our top priority remains the health and well-being of you, your family and friends, and we feel this is the most responsible decision at this time," she said in the letter.
Faculty and staff also received an additional message from provost Beth Ingram before the students received their letter from Freeman.
"This is disappointing for our students, our staff and our faculty as commencement celebrates the successful completion of our mission," Ingram said.
Illinois is currently in Phase 3 of governor JB Pritzker's plan to restore Illinois. Large gatherings aren't allowed until the fifth and final stage.
A graduate's status will not be affected by the delay, and diplomas will be mailed four to six weeks after the end of a student's final semester.
"While the usual pomp and circumstance surrounding your graduation has been delayed, please know that it in no way diminishes your accomplishments," Freeman told students in the letter. "I hope that you are still feeling tremendous pride for having completed the requirements for, and earning, your degree. All of us at NIU are extraordinarily proud of you."
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