MONMOUTH - Western Oregon University has made the decision to hold its 163rd commencement ceremony online this year rather than staging an in-person ceremony. 

This allows the university to celebrate its students' achievements without risking anyone's health. The decision was made now because many families were trying to schedule travel for graduation and were facing uncertainty.

"I know many businesses count on the increased customer traffic that the commencement brings in each June," said Kathleen Mason, executive director of Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, in an email. "The university is trying to create an in-person event that can happen in October in conjunction with Homecoming on Oct. 16-17. If this event is possible, we will get more details in the future."

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