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Update for Commencement 2021

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Dear Seniors,

Thank you for your patience as we continue to finalize plans for your Commencement. I’m writing to confirm President Wippman’s recent message and share new information that we received earlier this week.

On Monday, the New York Department of Health issued “Updated Interim Guidance for End of Academic Year Celebrations During the COVID-19 State of Emergency.” The guidelines allow for in-person gatherings of up to 10 percent capacity, with the stipulation that attendees have proof of a negative COVID-19 test or are immunized. The capacity for our largest venue on campus, the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House, is nearly 6,000.

In light of New York’s restrictions and the venues available to us, the only way for us to include guests at Commencement would be to hold three separate ceremonies. Last week, 60 percent of the senior class voted in favor of a single ceremony.

Accordingly, we will hold one in-person ceremony on Saturday, May 22, at 10 a.m. in the field house for all members of the class and those who are part of the program. All seniors who are studying remotely this semester have been invited to participate and should have received instructions for entering the Hamilton bubble in time for Senior Days and Commencement.

We regret that guests will not be permitted to attend the ceremony. We will, of course, livestream the event for remote viewing. Family members planning to help seniors pack their belongings should not arrive on campus before noon on the 22nd. Campus buildings will remain off limits to those who are not part of the College’s testing regimen, with the exception of one family member who will be permitted to assist their student. Earlier today, we shared with seniors that they will be required to vacate their residence hall rooms by 5 p.m. on May 22, unless they have applied for and received permission for a later departure.

Despite the limitations forced on us by the pandemic, we will continue doing everything we can to make your Commencement a fitting celebration of your four years at Hamilton. Additional information, including instructions for obtaining caps and gowns for the Commencement ceremony, will be shared with members of the Class of 2021 in the coming weeks.

Best wishes for a successful end to your final semester on College Hill.

Gill King
Commencement Planning Committee Chair

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