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COVID-19 Response

Commencement Update

June 26, 2020

Message from the President and Provost

Dear Class of 2020:

The University of Southern Mississippi remains exceedingly proud of you and the determination with which you completed your degree this spring, despite unprecedented challenges.

As public health officials continue to express significant concern for spikes in cases of COVID-19 across our state and strongly advise against large gatherings, we regret to share that USM will not be able to host Commencement ceremonies that were tentatively rescheduled for August. We extend our sincere apologies, and we share in the disappointment of this difficult decision, but we are concerned about the elevated risk associated with the size of our graduating class and guests gathering in one location.

We understand that Commencement is among our most treasured traditions, and we remain committed to welcoming you as a participant in the next Commencement ceremonies we are able to host in person.  As it is difficult to predict the status of evolving public health guidelines, plans for Commencement ceremonies currently scheduled for December may also change. We are continuing to monitor all applicable public health guidance and will communicate a final decision regarding December ceremonies by September 15.

All Spring 2020 grades have been processed, and final transcripts may be requested by following these instructions on the Office of the Registrar’s website. Diplomas are scheduled to be mailed beginning on July 6, 2020, and should arrive at the address you submitted with your degree application. Diploma covers are traditionally distributed at Commencement ceremonies. If you do not plan to walk in a future ceremony, or if you would like to receive a diploma cover in advance, please complete this request form, and a cover will be mailed to you.

You will receive specific information about how to participate in future ceremonies from the Office of the Registrar as public health guidance becomes more clear. If you have immediate questions, please email graduationFREEMississippi.

Again, we are proud you are part of our Golden Eagle family, and we look forward to celebrating you and your accomplishments in person as soon as we are able to do so.


Rodney D. Bennett, President

Steven R. Moser, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs