ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — Columbia Southern University (CSU) will return to annual in-person commencement ceremonies at the Foley Event Center at OWA on Friday, Oct. 22.
Graduation day will feature three ceremonies at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. More than 700 graduates and their friends and families are expected to attend.
“CSU is very excited to be able to welcome students and their families and friends back to celebrate their graduation with us in Baldwin County,” Columbia Southern University President Ken Styron said in a press release. “We are all anxious to meet our grads and their families as we make preparations for this important milestone for so many.”
The keynote speaker for each ceremony is Bert Thornton, retired vice chairman emeritus of Waffle House. He started his career with Waffle House in 1971 on the grill and worked his way up to the president and chief operating officer. Thornton’s speech and the ceremonies will be broadcasted on the CSU website and will be available for public viewing on-demand.
The day after graduation, graduates can mingle at the university’s Grad Bash from noon to 4 p.m. at The Lodge at Gulf State Park.
The university is implementing COVID-19 precautions, such as requiring all CSU staff to be masked, reducing room capacity to 32 percent for each ceremony, social distancing, providing sanitizing stations throughout the building, and offering disposable masks. There will also be a virtual commencement ceremony in May for those who could not attend this month’s commencement ceremonies.
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