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University of Arizona cancels May 2020 commencement
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University of Arizona cancels May 2020 commencement

From the Tucson-area coronavirus coverage from January to March: Nearly 1,300 cases in Arizona, stay-at-home order series

Charles Sejalbo lets loose in celebration during the fireworks finale at the 155th University of Arizona Commencement.

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The University of Arizona has canceled its May 2020 in-person convocations and commencement, UA President Robert C. Robbins announced Friday.

"The health and safety of our students, families, friends and communities must come first," Robbins said in a statement. 

The decision comes about a week after the UA transitioned to online classes for the remainder of the semester due to the coronavirus outbreak. The commencement cancelation affects celebrations that were to take place in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma and Sierra Vista. 

"My biggest regret for the Class of 2020 is that you didn't get to enjoy these final weeks of being a student and your final celebration with your classmates," Robbins said.

Robbins said an "alternate graduation experience" is being planned for the May 15 celebration. Updates regarding that experience will be available at commencement.arizona.edu starting next Friday. 

Graduates are also invited to participate in a future commencement ceremony, either in December 2020 or May 2021 — which are also "dependent on the nation's recovery from COVID-19," the statement reads.

"Seniors, we are heartbroken that we had to change our plans for your commencement," Robbins said. "I will miss seeing you more than you will know. I can only hope you will understand why we couldn't hold the ceremony as scheduled."

The class of 2020 includes 8,088 undergraduates, 2,219 master's students, 1,036 doctoral students, 521 professional degree students and 249 certificate earners.

Contact reporter Gloria Knott at gknott@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott

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