Treacherous weather forces cancellation of WCU’s commencement

The unexpected severity of a winter storm that struck the region led Western Carolina University officials to cancel the fall commencement scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 19).

Graduating students who had planned to participate in the ceremony at Ramsey Regional Activity Center will be allowed to take part in May commencement ceremonies instead, said WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo.

Even with snow in the forecast, university officials had wanted to hold the Saturday commencement as planned for those hundreds of graduating students who are already in Cullowhee, and for the students and families who could make it safely to campus, Bardo said.

However, the storm impacting the area turned into a major winter event affecting a large area of the Southeast, and in regard for the general health and safety of students and families, the decision was made to cancel commencement. It is believed to be the first time a commencement has been canceled in the university’s history.

Some students who had late-week exams were still on the WCU campus, and university residence halls were kept open through noon Sunday, Dec. 20, to allow those students to remain in Cullowhee, instead of attempting to drive home. Also, Courtyard Dining Hall was open to provide an on-campus eating option for those students through lunch on Saturday.

All university announcements related to inclement weather and schedule changes will be posted on this Web page: