COVID-19: Radford University Closes Its Doors and Rescheduled Graduation

2 min read President Hemphill announced through email late Monday afternoon the university will continue its online classes through May 8, 2020 due to COVID-19.

University Closes


By: Dylan Lepore |

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill announced through email late Monday afternoon that Radford University will continue its online classes through May 8, 2020, which represents all activity through the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, due to the spread of COVID-19.

“We have made this decision as your health, well-being, and safety are more important than anything else,” said President Hemphill.

Rescheduled Graduation

As for graduating seniors, May Commencement is rescheduled to December 2020. Ceremonies will be held as follows: December 11, 2020, for RUC at the Berglund Center in Roanoke and the College of Graduate Studies and Research on the main campus in Radford; and December 12, 2020, for Radford University in the Dedmon Center in Radford.

“This year, we must take unprecedented action and reschedule the May Commencement to an anticipated time in which the public health threat to our graduates, our guests, and our community has passed,” said President Hemphill.

Degrees are scheduled to be mailed to graduating students after the conclusion of the 2020 spring semester.

Clinical and/or Other Field Placements

Students who are unable to complete required clinical and/or other field placements will be provided the opportunity to complete their requirements at a later date and as soon as possible. 

President Hemphill asks students to contact their academic college and department or school for additional information.

New Grading Scale

The university is also adopting an opt-in mechanism for students who want to receive a pass or fail grade in one or all of their courses instead of the traditional grading system (A, B, C, D, or F) for the remainder of the 2020 Spring semester.

A petition started on Sunday by Jack Gaber, a student studying Special Education at Radford University, for this exact outcome. 

“Due to our classes being converted to online, we would like an option for classes to be graded as either ‘pass’ or ‘fail.’ Many students do not perform well with online classes and making a drastic change during the semester can derail many student’s progress,” Jack Gaber wrote on the petition. “Though this switch is due to extreme circumstances, many universities are adopting the same method.

The petition garnered 3,489 signatures on

By the end of next week, students will receive a link to identify their preferred grading system for each of their courses.

“This is a difficult time for every student, faculty, staff, and community member. I ask for your continued patience and understanding as Radford University pledges to do all that we can,” President Hemphill said. “This is not an ideal situation for our university, but we continue to do our best in making decisions quickly and thoughtfully and communicating broadly and openly. We will make it through this together as one Radford family!”

Photo Credit: (Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)