Pittsburg State University graduates who had expected to have their commencement in May will be honored with a special ceremony Dec. 12, the university announced Wednesday afternoon. Each graduate will receive copies of the traditional printed commencement program.

May commencement ceremonies were canceled in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the future was uncertain. Since then, the commencement team has worked on a plan to honor those graduates and their accomplishments in other ways, including social media and PSU website recognition planned for coming weeks.

But a survey found that a majority of students on track to graduate preferred a face-to-face ceremony dedicated to those who would have walked across the stage in May.

“We fully recognize and appreciate that many of our graduates will depart Pittsburg for jobs and lives after Pittsburg State University, and that making their way back to campus in December could be challenging,” PSU President Steve Scott said in a press release. “We’ve done our best to choose a date that allows for the most flexibility and time to plan.”

The Dec. 12 date also takes into account the public health threat that remains related to large gatherings, which is expected to extend through the summer.

A recording of the ceremony is planned to be posted to the University’s Vimeo and YouTube channels.

“Graduation from college is a defining milestone in one’s life, and our goal is to recognize our graduates in the most robust way possible in these unprecedented times,” Scott said.