Class of 2020: Commencement Update


A message from President Veitch updating the community on plans for celebrating the Class of 2020.

Dear Class of 2020:

I want to provide you with an update on the plans we are making to celebrate the Class of 2020. Even though it’s been nearly six weeks since we transitioned to remote learning, the elapsed time has done little to lessen the anguish that all of us feel for Oxy seniors. This is certainly not the way any of us expected this year to end. We share in your sense of disappointment at not being able to enjoy the May 2020 Commencement you imagined. The responses we received to the Commencement survey have been instrumental in guiding our decisions about how to properly acknowledge your four years of hard work and personal achievement.

The Commencement Committee, with input from additional senior representatives, held its first meeting to start planning for what the senior survey identified as your top priority: an in-person Commencement celebration in spring 2021. The College is committed to making that happen and the committee will continue to work over the summer and fall months to work towards that goal. In the meantime, the Class of 2020 will be officially graduating this spring and we don’t want that important milestone to go unobserved.

While we know that you have had May 17 circled on your calendar for months, the revision of grading, normal end-of-semester deadlines being pushed back, and the complications of working remotely for faculty and the Registrar’s Office mean everything cannot be ready by that date. So we are planning a virtual celebration for mid-June.

To enhance the virtual celebration, Commencement celebration boxes will be sent to each graduating senior with your diploma, a Commencement program, cap and tassel, and cultural grad and academic stoles and honor cords. The live streamed virtual celebration--which is not intended to be a substitute for next year’s in-person ceremony--will include brief remarks from me and Deans Wendy Sternberg and Rob Flot, singing by the Glee Club, and a reading of graduates’ names.

As soon as the timeline is clear, we will let you know the date and time, as well as the kind of social media interaction we are planning.

This is not what any of us anticipated when the semester started. It is not what any of us would wish. But we look forward to marking your graduation in June and then welcoming you back to campus next year for the celebration you have earned.

President Veitch