College to Celebrate Class of 2020 Virtually

By Commencement Committee, July 2, 2020
Graduates will receive recognition at five school-specific celebrations.

Dear Class of 2020 alumni and families,

The Ithaca College Commencement Committee, Class of 2020 officers, and members of the college’s leadership have been collaborating closely over the past several weeks to create a celebratory virtual program for our Class of 2020 graduates and their loved ones this summer.

We’ve been very fortunate that Chrissy Guest, associate professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies, and some of her colleagues in the Park School have joined our effort. Their creativity and innovation have allowed us to think outside the box to envision engaging programming that fully embraces the fun and possibilities of a virtual environment.

Because we want our 2020 virtual commencement to be as student-centered as possible, we have decided to celebrate each school independently. The intimacy of these smaller virtual celebrations will mean more focused attention on our graduates and less time sitting in front of a computer screen. Similar to our “regular” in-person ceremony, all of our graduates in attendance will be individually recognized.

The schedule for our 2020 school-specific commencement celebrations is:

  • Sunday, August 2, at 1:00 p.m. ET: School of Music
  • Sunday, August 2, at 5:00 p.m. ET: School of Humanities and Sciences
  • Monday, August 3, at 6:00 p.m. ET: School of Business
  • Tuesday, August 4, at 8:00 p.m. ET: Roy H. Park School of Communications
  • Wednesday, August 5, at 6:00 p.m. ET: School of Health Sciences and Human Performance

Each celebration will include plenty of student involvement and fun ways for loved ones, faculty, and staff to share their pride in our Class of 2020. Each will also be recorded. Please note that the times were thoughtfully selected to accommodate the widest swath of graduates and families from all time zones.

View our Commencement Ceremony Livestream

IC alumni, family members, friends, and other supporters are invited to view our virtual Commencement ceremonies via our livestream link. 

While we are still hammering out the details — thank you for your patience! — we can tell you there will be very short speeches from our Class of 2020 President, Gabby Picca, and Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado; and, we’re incredibly pleased to announce that Cindi Berger ’83 will be joining us as this year’s Commencement speaker.

man in vest

Bill McKibben, climate activist

A trailblazer within the communications industry, Cindi is the chairman of the international public relations and marketing firm R&C PMK, whose client roster features more than 400 prominent and influential actors, musicians, producers, directors, content creators and athletes. Cindi received her bachelor’s degree in politics and still maintains ties with IC, including coming back to campus in 2016 to moderate a Women’s History Month panel.

We know Cindi is excited to participate in this year’s ceremony, and she plans to celebrate with our Class of 2020 in person next June during the special slate of events that are being scheduled for Alumni Weekend 2021.

We are also celebrating Cindi as an honorary Doctor of Letters degree recipient, along with climate activist Bill McKibben. Many of our students know Bill’s strong work as the powerhouse environmentalist behind, the first planet-wide, grassroots, climate change movement, and as the author of “The End of Nature.” He’s also been a frequent speaker on campus.

woman in blue blouse

Bev Baker '54, this year’s Presidential Medal recipient.

In addition to Cindi and Bill, we’ll recognize the incredible dedication and contributions of alumna Beverly Baker ’54, this year’s Presidential Medal recipient. This medal honors significant contributions that better our Ithaca College community and our world, and Beverly’s unique career trajectory and deep investment in the IC student experience absolutely fits this description.

Read more about CindiBill, and Beverly.

So, what are the next steps? We still have many details to work out as our planning continues, and some of our plans will rely on you—members of the Class of 2020 and families. Please stay tuned for a more logistics-based email directly from the Commencement Committee and our Class of 2020 officers, asking for information (including how to register for your ceremony) as we finalize our preparations. And don’t forget, graduates can still register with Marching Order through July 10 to create a thank-you slide that will be shared during the Commencement ceremonies.

Finally, keep an eye out for the special Commencement boxes that are being mailed to all May graduates. We’re planning to get those in the mail by the middle of July to ensure they arrive before July 31.

We’re all looking forward to celebrating our Class of 2020 #ICGrads, and we can’t wait to see you then.


Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College

Gabby Picca
President, Ithaca College Class of 2020

Doreen Hettich-Atkins
Commencement Committee Co-Chair

Dave Prunty
Commencement Committee Co-Chair

MaryAnn Taylor
Commencement Committee Co-Chair