Simpson University Hosts Virtual ‘Open House’ to Finish Semester

REDDING, Calif.—With spring commencement rescheduled to December, Simpson University professors and staff created a special way to honor the class of 2020 during what would have been their graduation week.

A virtual “open house” was set up for the evening before graduation, designed to connect students and their families with professors and classmates.

The open house, which included “rooms” for each academic department, as well as other offices, was held from 7 to 8 p.m. April 24, the time originally scheduled for baccalaureate. Seniors were invited to “drop in” starting at 7, with other students joining for the final half-hour.

“We are excited to take this opportunity to mark the end of this semester through connection, celebration, and reflection,” the invitation read. “Please know that we continue to be in prayer for you and your families as we all navigate the present time, and we are grateful for each of you.”

In addition, faculty and staff were invited to post messages of encouragement to graduating seniors on the site. These included videos, letters, and audio recordings. Using a whiteboard to illustrate, science professor Trent Smith talked about “Chromosone ‘20,” specifically the “missue-bad gene,” which would be transcribed at a higher rate, he said, due to the “C-19 pandemic enhancer” and the “graduation enhancer.”

“The saving grace is when the C-19 pandemic enhancer is dissolved, there’s always the chance to undo this (graduation enhancer) if you come back and visit us,” he said.

President Norman Hall and Provost Dale Simmons also joined faculty and staff in offering messages of congratulations, hope, and prayers to the graduates.

“We recognize that your graduation is not what any of us expected and we hope that these opportunities will provide some meaningful ways of connection as you attempt to mark these important years of study and growth, complete this chapter, and begin writing the next,” wrote professors Jennifer Costillo and Michelle Stinson. “It has truly been a privilege to walk alongside of you during this part of your journey, and we look forward to seeing what is next.”

Spring commencement, originally scheduled for April 25, has been moved to Dec. 19, at which time the university will hold two ceremonies to honor graduates from spring, summer and fall 2020.

Update 4.29.20: Simpson University hosted a Facebook “live” video premiere for its traditional end-of-the-year awards chapel, recognizing students, faculty and staff for their academic achievements and outstanding contributions to the community.


Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at Follow university news at