Carroll College has announced that the commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 has been moved to May 2021.
Initially, President John Cech announced that the 2020 commencement ceremony would be scheduled for Dec. 12, 2020. However, in an open letter he states that after receiving considerable feedback regarding this date, the administration decided to reschedule the ceremony for May 16, 2021.
This puts the 110th and 111th commencement ceremonies on back-to-back days a little over one year from now.
"It will certainly be challenging, but we are very much committed to celebrating our class of 2020 with an in-person ceremony," Cech said. "We also feel holding both commencements on the same weekend will add even more to the whole celebratory nature of the weekend."
Much of the concern regarding the December date centered on concerns over winter travel and potential conflicts with graduate school. Cech said that a committee, which included students representing the 2020 senior class, was formed to address commencement planning. After evaluating other potential dates, the largest concern was the lack of knowledge about when it would be safe to gather again, according to Cech.
It was determined that the best option to celebrate would be in May 2021.
"We felt the date of May 16, 2021 provides us with the safest window to plan for a celebration without threat of another postponement," said Cech, in the letter. "The date will allow us to integrate much of the traditional programming surrounding graduation such as baccalaureate mass and commencement ceremonies in the PE Center."
According to Cech, the class of 2020 asked that the class of 2021's ceremony not be impacted by this rescheduling. As such, Saturday, May 15, remains as the day for class of 2021 festivities.
Cech said that given the circumstances, officials expect fewer graduates will be able to attend the ceremony. Therefore, the college anticipates allowing each student more than the eight tickets previously allotted for the ceremony.
Cech said that if any graduates cannot make it to the ceremony, they will be welcomed at any subsequent ceremony over the next 10 years.
"I am committed that our students and their family members will be able to enjoy a full commencement celebration," Cech said. "I would like to pledge that my goal is to welcome every member of the Class of 2020 on the stage even if it takes the next 10 years to do so."
Though the college cannot recognize and honor its graduates in-person yet, a virtual conferral ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 9, at 12:15 p.m. Cech said this is important because it allows verification that students have completed all degree requirements.
It also allows the college to confer degrees to its students, making their graduation official. Access to the ceremony is available to all via carroll.edu/2020.