The message below was sent to the Class of 2020 on April 28, 2020.
I am writing to share initial information regarding plans for a future commencement ceremony and for the May 2020 alternative celebration of the Class of 2020.
My message to you in March followed President Salovey’s announcement that given current COVID-19 restrictions we would not be able to be together on campus this year for commencement. As promised, I convened a committee including students and faculty to advise President Salovey and me.
The information I am sharing here reflects broad input from the committee, your deans, students surveyed formally and informally, and other university leaders. The consensus is that while it is important to recognize your accomplishments as you earn your degree in May, this is not a substitute for the opportunity to return to campus to participate in all the “pomp and circumstance” associated with a traditional Yale graduation and to spend time with your classmates. Although your celebration is necessarily and sadly delayed, you have earned the opportunity to wear your cap and gown, process through campus and Yale’s historic gates, receive congratulations from your professors, and celebrate with your family, friends, and classmates.
We recognize that many students, especially those in Yale College, would like to participate in on-campus commencement ceremonies with family and friends as soon as possible. However, Yale cannot host large in-person gatherings until State of Connecticut and City of New Haven restrictions are lifted and we can be confident that conditions are safe for our students and guests. We do not have enough information now to confirm a date. I will be in touch with you again by early July to provide an update regarding future plans.
But we still want to publicly and officially mark your graduation from Yale this year! So, beginning May 11, a new Yale 2020 website will include Yale music, videos, and other content celebrating students. All graduates’ names; Yale College Class Day programming; and a social media feed will be included on the site, which will also host or link to school-specific and other Yale content.
And on Monday, May 18, President Salovey will address all graduates, offer his congratulations, and officially confer your degree. Your school deans will also share messages of congratulations. We will follow up with more detailed information soon and through the next several weeks.
We are thinking of you as you complete the term and are looking forward to the time when we can be together again.
Kimberly M. Goff-Crews
Secretary and Vice President for University Life