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July 13, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Ithaca College cancels on-campus Commencement ceremony

Ithaca College has canceled the on-campus 125th Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020.

President Shirley M. Collado made the announcement via email to the Class of 2020 on June 8. The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place May 17, but, after the college transitioned to remote learning March 17, the ceremony was postponed until Aug. 2. There are 1,639 students in the Class of 2020.

The college’s website had stated that graduation weekend, which would take place from July 31 to Aug. 2, would be canceled if the government indicated that it would not be safe to hold a ceremony.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced June 7 that outdoor, socially distanced graduation ceremonies of up to 150 people will be allowed beginning June 26. Educational institutions, like the college, are a part of phase four of New York state’s reopening plan. The Southern Tier is currently in phase two, which does not allow large gatherings or events.

The college’s Commencement committee is preparing a virtual Commencement weekend, which will take place Aug. 1–2, the email stated. The college will be sending graduates celebration boxes, which include diplomas and covers. Graduates will also receive electronic diplomas.

The 2021 Alumni Weekend, which will take place from June 25 to 27, 2021, on the college’s campus, will include a Senior Splash and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020, the email stated.

“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,” Collado wrote in the email. “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 Gov. 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.”

Collado officially conferred degrees for the Class of 2020 in a video message May 17.

In lieu of an official graduation ceremony, some graduates held alternate ceremonies during the originally scheduled Commencement weekend.

Alexis Manore can be reached at amanore@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @AlexisManore