Ithaca College will hold a virtual Commencement ceremony for graduates in the Class of 2020 on Sunday, August 2. President Shirley M. Collado made the announcement in a message and video sent to graduating students and their families. In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its early stages, the college had considered holding an in-person ceremony during the first weekend in August.
“The college’s Commencement committee is working creatively to prepare a full and celebratory virtual Commencement weekend for all of you on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2. The committee is focused on ensuring that this weekend is engaging, vibrant, and dynamic.”President Shirley M. Collado
“Although we remained hopeful, it is with a heavy heart that I share the decision that we will not be able to offer an on-campus Commencement weekend in August,” Collado wrote. “The college’s Commencement committee is working creatively to prepare a full and celebratory virtual Commencement weekend for all of you on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2. The committee is focused on ensuring that this weekend is engaging, vibrant, and dynamic.”
Collado said that the Class of 2020 officers have been working closely with the Commencement committee in providing their input and opinions, and that she is both grateful for their support and inspired by how they reflect the strength, maturity, and heart of the entire class during the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic..
“I realize this is yet another twist in an already challenging time, and I want to thank you for your patience and understanding about our amended plans,” she wrote. “We were all holding out hope that an August on-campus celebration could work, but as this public health crisis has evolved, and understanding Ithaca College’s absolute commitment to fully complying with the New York Forward reopening plan and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s strong leadership, it has become clear that we cannot responsibly bring a large group for an event like this back to our campus in August.”
In addition to the virtual ceremony, Collado announced that the college plans to recognize the graduates in person at next year’s Alumni Weekend, scheduled for June 25-27, 2021. They will officially be welcomed into the alumni community with a series of celebrations that will include the traditional Senior Splash in the Dillingham fountains.
Alumni Weekend is typically held in October of each year, but the gathering has been moved to next June since holding such a large event this fall would not be in the best interest of ensuring the health and safety of the alumni and campus communities. The college had previously announced that it will be delaying the start of in-person instruction for the fall semester until October 5.
On May 17, which was the original date for this year’s Commencement, President Collado sent each graduate a congratulatory message and video, in which she formally conferred their degrees. In advance of the new August virtual ceremony, graduates will be sent a package containing their actual diploma, along with some special surprises.