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An Announcement about the 2021 Commencements (Archived)

A Message from President Elaine C. Collins:

Dear NVU Graduating Students,

As each of us knows on very personal levels, the pandemic has changed so much over the past year. At the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we once again must make decisions about important university events that are milestones in students’ lives.

Over the past months, we have discussed our upcoming commencement ceremonies many times, holding out hope that we could celebrate our graduates in person with family and friends. We have reached the point where a decision must be made in order to appropriately plan. Today, we announce that our Class of 2021 commencement ceremonies will be held virtually this May.

Throughout this pandemic, your health and safety and the health and safety of our communities have remained at the forefront of our every consideration. This, in conjunction with our need to follow Vermont Department of Health guidelines, has led us to the decision that we must go virtual once again.

The 2021 virtual commencement will be a graduation, complete with the traditions of a graduation. The commencement committees and marketing team have begun meeting and have an exciting outline underway.

We know you would like to celebrate your achievements in person. We would like to as well! As we celebrate your hard work and commitment to earning your degree virtually, we will do all we can to celebrate you in a personal way.

We have heard the request from some seniors that we hold small, in-person ceremonies for the academic schools or departments. However, the most equitable and safe solution is to hold one virtual commencement ceremony for each campus. The logistics of in-person ceremonies on campus are not easily managed during a pandemic. Setting aside the potentially significant travel and lodging costs for students studying remotely, these students are also not participating in our on-campus health and safety protocols. Although we truly understand the sadness for you in this decision, we must consider the health and safety of our entire community in every decision.

We will gather for virtual celebrations at our normal commencement times:

  • Johnson Campus: Saturday, May 15, 2021, 11 a.m.
  • Lyndon Campus: Sunday, May 16, 2021, 11 a.m.

It is our hope that you will be able to celebrate in person with your peers at a Class of 2021 reunion event at Homecoming on each campus in fall 2021. We caution that this, too, is dependent on the Vermont Department of Health guidelines.

Stay tuned for details and ways you can participate as we begin to produce our graduation ceremonies together. The marketing team and the faculty, staff, and students who will assist in the productions will work hard to make these celebrations as creative, inspiring, and personal as can be so our graduating students can celebrate proudly with their families and friends.

As we look toward May, we are acutely aware that the pandemic is also going to make it impossible to welcome our Class of 2020 graduates back in May for their in-person ceremonies. A communication is going out to the Class of 2020 today.

Best wishes as we push forward through the semester. It is hard to believe it is already nearly March!