Commencement Planning Update: From the Office of Special Events
February 17, 2021
Although the semester is just beginning, it’s natural to look forward to the traditional milestones and celebrations attendant with graduation. The members and families of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 are understandably eager to learn how their momentous occasion will be celebrated. Likewise, faculty and staff look to commencement ceremonies as the culminating recognition of students who have distinguished themselves and made an indelible mark upon Mary Washington. Everyone holds hopes around this event.
Valuing and respecting the long-held dreams and expectations pinned to this ceremony, UMW continues to consider and hold open every option available for graduation. The University will make a formal announcement about its commencement ceremonies’ format by the end of March.
This interval will allow us to continue to assess COVID-19’s prevalence over several more weeks and potentially find a less risk-laden rendering of our beloved traditions. Current conditions significantly limit our prospects for a traditional experience. We are checking in with other schools, sharing ideas and proposing practices, recognizing that each school’s local circumstances vary widely. Clearly, the Governor’s mandate limiting in-person gatherings to 250 people or less, the emerging virus variants, and the slower than anticipated availability of the vaccines – along with a host of other factors – may force alternative plans. A decision made today would be enormously narrow in its options. Yet we cling to the belief that each day and week will bring us closer to normalcy.
We know a decision delay is disappointing for those who want assurances now that commencement ceremonies will follow tradition. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is neither a respecter of people nor traditions. Whatever our possible choices may ultimately be, it is our goal to make this well-earned celebration as meaningful an experience as possible.
Our seniors and graduate students have certainly distinguished themselves in innumerable ways, and we intend to underscore their place among the rich history of accomplished and engaged alumni. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
All plans for in-person gatherings are subject to COVID restrictions. Updates will continue to be shared here as they develop.
Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, May 8, 2021