To our extended UMW community:
This was to be a week of celebration of our graduates. Then, COVID-19 redefined our lives. UMW’s desire to help ensure your wellbeing doesn’t lessen the disappointment of having to defer our time-honored traditions. As you know, tomorrow would have been the day when our campus displayed its finest formalities, bagpipes played, and folks packed into Ball Circle for UMW’S 109th Commencement.
Fortunately UMW’s traditions transcend a date. While those special moments cannot be experienced in person right now, we want to remind you that we will celebrate our graduates this fall. We also want to offer a special virtual May 9 message for our Class of 2020.
I encourage you to visit umw.edu today through Sunday for comprehensive commencement coverage. Today and tomorrow, you can submit congratulatory notes to graduates; this will be displayed for everyone to see on the site. You also can read interesting stories about this extraordinary class. On Saturday, you will be able to view the names of graduates as well as a video that brings home the richness and poignancy of a Mary Washington graduation. (And because the video features yours truly, there’s also a little humor!)
As I previously announced, we plan to hold Commencement for the Class of 2020 on October 24, 2020. Regrettably we are still dealing with a perplexing virus, which leaves us with a lot of unknowns. Our hope is that the date we have picked will be a beautiful fall day and a safe time for a large group to gather again.
In this age of uncertainty, contingencies are imperative. A backup to the fall date will be Thursday, May 6, 2021. We know that seems too long to wait; however, we cannot predict the course of the coronavirus and when flare-ups may occur again. That is why we are exercising an abundance of caution and picking two dates.
Meanwhile, we are asking parents, faculty and staff, alumni and friends – anyone with a Mary Washington connection – to submit congratulatory notes this weekend. Give kudos to a specific graduate, cheer for the class as a whole, or share memories of your graduation day or advice for the future. Simply post your well wishes on Twitter or Instagram and include #UMW2020. Messages will be prominently featured on our congrats page through Sunday.
Lastly, to the Class of 2020: You will always be special to me. We came to Mary Washington together, and while it is time for you to move forward in your journey, you will always be remembered for your amazing qualities, defined by your resilient and caring spirit, and missed as precious members of this community.
In the words of our Alma Mater, another tradition that will ring out virtually tomorrow:
Here’s to Mary Washington;
Our love will never die.
All the best,