Journalism students and parents sing MU's alma mater song, "Old Missouri" (copy)

In this file photo, MU journalism students and parents sing the university's alma mater song, "Old Missouri," before the commencement ceremony on May 17, 2019, at Mizzou Arena. 

MU commencement ceremonies for May and August graduates will be held in person over two weekends in May, and 2020 graduates will be invited back for ceremonies over a weekend in April, the university announced Thursday morning.

According to an MU web page dedicated to commencement information:

The dates for spring and August graduates will be May 7-9 and May 14-16. The dates by college and school are posted on the commencement page.

Ceremonies for 2020 graduates will be April 23-25.

Although it's not final yet, ceremonies will probably be held in Mizzou Arena and the Hearnes Center. All will be live-streamed.

Students can get tickets for as many as six visitors. The visitors will be grouped in "pods" that will be socially distanced from each other. Other safety protocols, including wearing masks, will be required.

In-person commencements haven't been held at MU since December 2019. Last year, virtual celebrations were held to honor the 2020 graduates, but they weren't traditional graduation ceremonies.

Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Communications Manager Megan McConachie said this is a big deal for Columbia businesses.

"There's definitely a ripple effect when it comes to tourism," McConachie said. "When people come to Columbia they of course stay in our hotels, shop in our stores and dine in our restaurants. All of that obviously has a really positive, direct economic impact."

MU officials will share more information as details become available at commencement.missouri.edu

Columbia College announced Feb. 16 that it will hold a virtual commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. May 1.

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