University continues to hold virtual Commencement "Our Spring 2021 Commencement will be held virtually, on Friday, May 14, as was previously announced, featuring special content and acknowledgment of our graduates."
University continues to hold virtual Commencement
Dear Wolf Pack Family,
There are few days we cherish more on our campus than Commencement. It is the culmination of years of hard work and represents a celebration of student achievement unlike any other. To all of our students who will be graduating in May, we need to acknowledge this important accomplishment and congratulate you all on a job well done, particularly considering the challenges of the past year. At the same time, we must also acknowledge the unprecedented difficulties that COVID-19 presents for the University in planning and holding Spring Commencement.
Planning Commencement whether in-person or virtual at an institution of the University’s size needs many months of lead time. During the first month of 2021, institutional leaders gave considerable thought to a multitude of in-person scenarios for the Spring 2021 Commencement for more than 4,000 students and more than 50,000 spectators (average number of guests is 12-14 per graduate). In order to comply with health and wellness regulations, all of the scenarios involved many days of dawn-to-dusk logistics for drive-by and small group in-person events. All of those scenarios would be subject to County approval. Institutional leaders revisited those scenarios in late February and early March when the Governor issued new conditions for large events. The Governor’s revised playbook did not result in any changes to the initial scenarios which place health and well-being at the center of plans.
Although great progress has been made in recently reducing positivity rates and hospitalizations related to COVID-19, the University’s reality is this: The month of May will still be too early for the health and well-being of our graduates, their families, loved ones and friends who would be attending an in-person gathering. We cannot afford to sacrifice the gains we have made to this point because we are working very hard for a Fall 2021 Semester opening. In addition, we cannot accurately forecast vaccination and infection rates with the degree of specificity needed to safely hold an in-person Spring Commencement.
Therefore, the University will not be holding in-person graduation ceremonies of any kind, large or small. Our Spring 2021 Commencement will be held virtually, on Friday, May 14, as was previously announced, featuring special content and acknowledgment of our graduates that will incorporate many of the elements that Commencement has traditionally featured. All 2020 and 2021 graduates will be invited to participate. We plan additional in-person ceremonies in December pending CDC guidelines and State and County health directives.
We are looking forward to celebrating, including that special moment of conferral of degrees, in a way that will be memorable and safe for all concerned. Thank you for your continued understanding. The University will regularly share the latest updates on our Spring 2021 Commencement page.