Northeastern University told students in an email Tuesday that the school's commencement will be held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We will adapt this year’s celebration of commencement to the necessities of this unprecedented moment of global challenge — preserving what we all need today more vitally than ever: a deep sense of community," Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun wrote in the email.
More than 2,500 people have signed a change.org petition circulated by students urging Northeastern to postpone commencement instead of holding it virtually. Northeastern's commencement was originally going to be held at TD Garden, according to the university’s website. More than 20,000 graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff were present at the Garden for commencement in 2019, according to Northeastern.
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"Consistent with the university's rich tradition, we will feature an inspiring address from a pioneering individual who has expanded the frontiers of human knowledge, possibility, and achievement. And we also plan to offer new opportunities for interconnecting the Northeastern family in ways that further enrich this virtual event," Aoun wrote in the email.
Commencement will take place on May 1, the day it was originally scheduled.
Northeastern joined several colleges and universities last week in moving courses online for the rest of the semester.