On Monday, April 20, SUNY New Paltz announced via an email sent by President Donald P. Christian that the 2020 commencement ceremony — honoring August 2019, December 2019 and May 2020 graduates — would be rescheduled for May of the following year.
The announcement follows the postponement of the original commencement weekend, scheduled to take place the weekend of May 16, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is one of the most painful decisions I have made during my years as president at SUNY New Paltz, and I know other campus leaders feel the same,” said President Christian in an email sent to students announcing the initial postponement.
While no firm date has been set for the rescheduled in-person commencement, President Christian told Oracle staff members during a meeting on April 23 that avoiding overwhelming town and campus with traffic in May of next year will play a role into deciding when to hold the Class of 2020 ceremony.
“Our number one priority is to provide our graduates and candidates with the opportunity to return to campus for a safe, in-person Commencement celebration next year to recognize their years of hard work and accomplishments in earning a college degree,” President Christian said to the campus community in an email to all students on April 20.
The email also revealed that a fall date was initially considered for the ceremony, but passed over due to the “uncertainty of the pandemic’s timeline and the lack of a vaccine.” Details on the rescheduled ceremony are promised “at a later date.”
In the meantime, a virtual commencement has been announced “to recognize our students in this uncertain time,” read the April 20 email from the Office of the President.
The pre-recorded ceremony will be held on May 22. According to the announcement, the ceremony will include: commencement speeches, announcements of each graduates name and “Customizable slides featuring personal recognition, photos and messages from each graduate.” The event is being put together in conjunction with MarchingOrder.
The virtual commencement ceremonies are being made available beginning at 1 p.m. on May 22, and will be accessible for viewing for the next year. Graduating students can expect an email with instructions on how to sign-up for the event.