Class of 2020 Commencement Update

Many thanks to the nearly 200 students and parents who participated in the senior commencement survey. Responses from both groups were overwhelmingly in favor of an in-person ceremony. 80% chose a fall ceremony as their first or second choice, followed by 54% choosing a winter ceremony as their first or second choice. Interest was equally high in holding the Carillon Ceremony and a Senior Week outing/event.

This semester’s disruption also meant the cancellation of alumni weekend, musical performances, art exhibitions and the spring theatre show. Thanks to your input, we will begin planning a special weekend in October to include senior traditions and commencement for the class of 2020, as well as entertainment and events for students, families and alumni. Working with our faculty in the arts, we hope to include programming from music, theatre and art throughout the weekend.

While we are aiming for a date in October, we really do not know if or to what extent social distancing guidelines will be relaxed to allow a gathering of several thousand people. We remain hopeful and are planning for a best-case scenario, but understand this may be out of our control. If we enter the fall and find that an October event is not possible, we will begin to explore the next options.

Commencement is our most important and cherished annual event. It marks a major milestone in each of your lives and celebrates years of hard work and for many, sacrifice. Nothing can replace hearing your name called, walking across the stage, and having your photo taken in your cap and gown. We are committed to ensuring that the class of 2020 will have their own special day to do just that.

In the coming weeks, you will hear more about our annual honors and awards ceremony, which we hope to present online. We are also launching a special “Senior Memories” video project to commemorate your actual May degree conferral. Watch for an email from University Communications about how you can participate!

We will convene the commencement planning committee this summer and post ongoing updates as we have them at As a reminder, if you meet requirements for graduation, your degree will still be conferred on May 9th. We have also waived the $125.00 degree completion fee for the Class of 2020.