In recent weeks, you have experienced sudden and unexpected changes to the normal routine of Spring semester at the University of Georgia and to your lives in general. I have been very proud of how you have approached this disruption of your final semester at UGA and the resilience that you have exhibited in completing the degree that you have worked so hard to attain.
I share your disappointment in not being able to gather together on May 8th for our customary Spring Commencement ceremony. This time-honored tradition marks the culmination of the hopes, dreams, hard work and sacrifices of you and your families. While the current pandemic has unfortunately led to a cancellation of May graduation ceremonies across the nation, including the University of Georgia’s, your achievements are in no way diminished by this necessary action.
Despite the current challenging circumstances, we look forward to celebrating you and your accomplishments. We will be honoring our Spring 2020 graduates in two distinct ways.
First, we will commemorate the date on which you will earn your degrees, May 8, 2020. A congratulatory online message is being prepared to acknowledge the conferral of degrees that all of our undergraduate and graduate students have earned. We do not want to let this important moment pass by without acknowledging its significance. It is truly a long-awaited culmination of your efforts, and for some of you it may be your sole chance to celebrate this accomplishment.
Second, we are planning to hold in-person Commencement celebrations in Athens on the following dates, assuming that it is deemed safe to do so at that time by the CDC and state health officials:
Spring 2020 Undergraduate Commencement: Friday evening, October 16, 2020, 6:30 PM in Sanford Stadium
Spring 2020 Graduate Commencement (Master’s & Doctoral degree candidates): Friday afternoon, December 18, 2020, 2:30 PM in Stegeman Coliseum, in combination with the regularly scheduled Fall 2020 Graduate Commencement
These plans were developed after extensive conversations with a group of graduating student leaders, UGA vice presidents and deans, members of the Commencement Committee, Athletics, Emergency Preparedness, and other units across campus, and I am grateful for their thoughtful counsel and broad consensus.
A working group that includes student representation from the Class of 2020 as well as members of the Full Commencement Committee will begin planning both of these events. Many of your colleges and schools will be planning additional activities to complement these ceremonies.
Overarching all logistical considerations, however, is the still uncertain progress of this terrible pandemic. We look to the fall as a time when we will hopefully be ready and able to gather once again. I trust that you and your classmates, whose love for the University of Georgia is unmatched, will return in force to Athens when the time is safe to do so.
We will update the Commencement website, commencement.uga.edu, with more information on both ceremonies as it becomes available, so please check this site regularly.
The faculty, staff and I join together in recognizing and celebrating your outstanding academic accomplishments. Thank you for your patience and fortitude as we move forward together.