Communications to the Class of 2020
May 28, 2021
Dear members of the Class of 2020,
I hope this email finds you well. As the country continues to make progress against the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions loosen up, I wanted to let you know that the question of your commencement ceremony is still very much on our minds.
You might have heard that Marist will be hosting two commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on May 29 and 30. However, these ceremonies have major restrictions. All attendees must either provide COVID-19 proof of vaccination, show that they previously tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, or demonstrate negative test results within 72 hours of the ceremony. Graduates are limited to two guests each, and seating is socially distanced. In addition, many of our graduates’ favorite senior week activities had to be eliminated or dramatically curtailed, e.g., the senior formal, river cruise, and other events.
Marist’s Commencement Committee surveyed members of the Class of 2020 regarding what type of commencement ceremony you would like to have, and the overwhelming majority of respondents wanted to wait until it’s possible to have not only a commencement ceremony, but also all of the social activities, dinners, and other events that are traditional at Marist. With public health conditions now improving, it looks like we can now start developing plans. Many colleges that had to postpone 2020 ceremonies have rescheduled them for May or June of 2022. We will look to the Class of 2020 for guidance on the appropriate timing, provided it is practical and feasible for the College. The Commencement Committee will be in contact with you in the next few weeks to explore options and share additional information.
We know that not being able to have a commencement last year was a great disappointment for the Class of 2020. It was disappointing for us, too. With things now looking up around the country, Marist is looking forward to properly celebrating your many achievements with you and your families. Thank you and best wishes for an enjoyable summer.
Dennis J. Murray
April 19, 2021
Class of 2020,
We have not forgotten you. We are committed to providing your class a commencement ceremony and celebrating your many achievements. In May 2020, Marist had two options for commencement exercises: to postpone to a later date or to provide a virtual ceremony. Postponing the ceremony was one of the most difficult decisions the College has had to make during this global pandemic.
While Marist is planning in-person ceremonies for the Class of 2021, the circumstances are less than ideal, with the College operating under severe limitations and the uncertainty of guests.
On March 29, Marist distributed a survey to the Class of 2020, asking members if they preferred to continue the delay or were interested in returning to campus under current state-wide restrictions. The overwhelming response was to wait to hold commencement until all could participate together in a large-scale, in-person commencement ceremony. Based on the results, the Commencement Committee will be reviewing the various possibilities and options for a traditional commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. The most likely choices would be this Fall or in Spring 2022.
Thomas S. Wermuth
Vice President for Academic Affairs