Class of 2020

Grotto Candles 01 Mc Feature

 

We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2020 in person over Memorial Day Weekend 2022 (May 27-30). 

Thank you to all the 2020 graduates who participated in recent surveys. Your feedback is greatly valued and will directly influence the Commencement celebration. More information regarding the survey responses and a draft itinerary will be forthcoming this summer.  

 

Father Jenkins' Letter to the Class of 2020


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the current plans to recognize the accomplishments of the Class of 2020?
  2. Why is the University proceeding with plans for an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2021 in May, but not for the Class of 2020 a week later?
  3. If there is concern about people coming to South Bend from other places and potentially spreading COVID-19, why might the University allow a limited number of family members and guests to attend Commencement 2021?
  4. If the University could host large numbers of people in the Stadium for football games last fall, why isn’t it possible to host the 2020 Commencement ceremony over Memorial Day weekend?
  5. What are the University’s mechanisms for consulting and receiving feedback on Commencement planning from the graduates of the Class of 2020?
  6. Why is the University making the decision now, in February, to again defer Commencement for the Class of 2020?
  7. Could there be a gathering of the Class of 2020 this fall, perhaps for a football game?
What are the current plans to recognize the accomplishments of the Class of 2020?

As was announced Feb. 3, the University, informed by the guidance of public health officials, is deferring the in-person celebration for the Class of 2020 that was planned for Memorial Day weekend 2021. We do not believe it will be possible at that time to safely welcome back to campus members of the Class of 2020 and their loved ones from across the nation and globe for the kind of joyful celebration they want and deserve. Instead, the University will plan a celebration in summer 2022 for those who earned undergraduate degrees in 2020. For those who graduated with doctoral, master’s or professional degrees in 2020, the respective schools will consult with their graduates to determine how best to further recognize their accomplishments.

Why is the University proceeding with plans for an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2021 in May, but not for the Class of 2020 a week later?

Most all 2021 graduates will spend the semester on campus, and thus will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing as well as many other University health and safety protocols. Recently the University announced that all students residing in the local area would also have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated before the 2021 Spring Semester ends. The thousands of graduates in the Class of 2020, on the other hand, would need to travel to South Bend from locations across the nation and around the world, and not all will have access to full vaccination prior to Memorial Day 2021. Based on guidance from public health officials and current projections, it will unfortunately not be possible to safely host the graduates of the Class of 2020 and their guests on campus this May.

If there is concern about people coming to South Bend from other places and potentially spreading COVID-19, why might the University allow a limited number of family members and guests to attend Commencement 2021?

It is our hope to welcome a very limited number of guests for a significantly modified, outdoor celebration of Commencement 2021. Again, as noted above, the graduates of the Class of 2021 have been on campus this semester where they are subject to weekly testing and many health and safety protocols, and now will have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated before Commencement. We will continue to monitor local, national and global case rates, in partnership with state and local health officials, to assess whether we can welcome guests.

If the University could host large numbers of people in the Stadium for football games last fall, why isn’t it possible to host the 2020 Commencement ceremony over Memorial Day weekend?

Virtually all of the spectators at home football games last season were students, faculty and staff who reside on campus and in the local community, in keeping with clear guidance from local public health officials. By contrast, hosting a 2020 Commencement in May would require that all of the graduates, as well as their families, travel to South Bend from across the country and around the world, dramatically increasing the risk of contagion for those in attendance and for our campus and local communities. 

What are the University’s mechanisms for consulting and receiving feedback on Commencement planning from the graduates of the Class of 2020?

To assist in planning events for those who graduated with undergraduate degrees in 2020, the University convened a planning committee last spring comprised of student leaders with diverse backgrounds, and has communicated regularly with this committee. The committee sent a survey to their classmates to get feedback on the timing and features of a celebration, which will take place May 27-30, 2022, as well as other ways to connect the class. For those who graduated with doctoral, master’s and professional degrees, the Graduate School, Law School, School of Architecture, Keough School of Global Affairs and Mendoza College of Business will initiate conversations with their graduates to gather ideas on how best to further celebrate their achievements within the individual schools.

Why is the University making the decision now, in February, to again defer Commencement for the Class of 2020?

The trajectory of the pandemic has been longer and more difficult than anyone could have foreseen. We, like so many others, hoped that by Memorial Day weekend 2021 it would once again be safe to travel and host large gatherings, and that there might be good news in the fight against COVID-19 which would allow us to proceed with our plans. Instead, the current situation continues to be very challenging, especially with the emergence of new variants and some of the difficulties with vaccine distribution. Based on our consultation with public health officials, it is now clear that the situation will not improve enough to make it safe to host such a celebration in May. The University has also announced that it is canceling the in-person Alumni Reunions that were planned for June for the same reasons.   

Could there be a gathering of the Class of 2020 this fall, perhaps for a football game?

As described above, the Class of 2020 planning committee for those who earned undergraduate degrees will soon send out a survey with various options, including possibilities for some members of the Class of 2020 to gather in the fall. However, in terms of an all-Class of 2020 weekend gathering, for which the University would offer on-campus housing and meals, this could not be accommodated during the academic year and thus May 27-30, 2022, was chosen.