Saturday morning, nearly 160 Western New England University law students received their degrees inside Symphony Hall.
The group was supposed to hear from Lois Lerner, who is a WNEU alum from 1978.
Lerner is now the director for the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organization Division.
That group has come under fire in the past week, accused of targeting conservative nonprofit groups.
It led to Lerner bowing out of Saturday's ceremony.
"It was her decision completely from the very beginning," said Barbara Moffat, WNEU's vice president of marketing. "We had been in touch with her throughout the course of the week and time leading up to that to see how she was feeling and what was transpiring in her world."
The university said Lerner felt the spotlight would be on her, not the graduating class.
The school agreed, saying they wanted Saturday to be about the graduates.
"This was to be a day of celebration and not a political event," said Moffat. "Because we shared that perspective, we were collectively appreciative of the decision she made."
Due to the decision being made just this past week, no one replaced Lerner in the commencement ceremony.
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