Commencement 2021

Dear Seniors,

I know you have been waiting eagerly for information about your Commencement. We will provide more details in the coming weeks, but I wanted to share our current plans so that you can begin to make arrangements. Thank you for your patience as we have worked through a range of options.

We are planning now for an in-person ceremony in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Saturday, May 22, one day earlier than originally scheduled. We hope that seniors studying remotely will join their classmates in person, though this will likely require an onboarding quarantine and testing process similar to the one held in January.

At this point, and with deep regret, we intend to limit participation in Commencement to graduating seniors and invited speakers. We would love to welcome families, friends, faculty, staff, and other guests, but we can’t be confident that a gathering of that magnitude will be permitted by the state of New York or that it would be prudent in light of the pandemic. We hope conditions will improve in a way that makes it possible to hold a larger gathering, and we will let you know promptly of any changes in our plans. At a minimum, the College will provide a livestream of Commencement for family and friends to watch from home.

I recognize how disappointing this news must be, especially considering the challenges your class has faced in the past year. I can assure you that we would like nothing more than to be able to host a more traditional Commencement ceremony.

I also know from my recent discussions with the Senior Class Planning Committee how much you have been looking forward to celebrating with your classmates in the days leading up to Commencement. Most peer colleges have either canceled or sharply reduced senior week activities, but after consulting with the Senior Class Planning Committee, I believe we can host several days of activities that are safe and that follow our COVID-19 guidelines. I’m grateful to your class representatives for the selfless, cooperative, and imaginative ways they considered and responded to the different options that were proposed. More details will follow. In the meantime, I encourage you to share any ideas you have for Senior Days and Commencement with the Senior Class Planning Committee by emailing srwkcomm@hamilton.edu. I plan to hold an open session with your class in the near future to answer any questions you may have.

None of us anticipated that your last year at Hamilton would unfold under the shadow of a global pandemic, and we all hoped to celebrate with full pomp and circumstance the conclusion of your studies here. I can assure you we will do everything possible to make your Commencement meaningful, festive, and memorable.


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