By Danny Priest
Due to the persistence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper notified the campus community via email on Monday afternoon that the college will not be holding its traditional May 2021 Commencement ceremony.
While the news is not a surprise and was made by the college out of an abundance of caution, it is still disheartening news for the class of 2021. Springfield College is maintaining the possibility of holding smaller ceremonies by major or department, as Cooper stated in her email.
This news marks the second straight academic year in which normal graduation ceremonies have been forced to be put on hold due to the presence of COVID. Here is the full email from Cooper to the Springfield College campus:
In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and with the uncertainty of how long it will impact large gatherings, it has become clear that we will not be able to hold our May 2021 Commencement ceremonies as originally planned. This includes the Undergraduate Commencement at the MassMutual Center and Baccalaureate and the Graduate Ceremony in our field house. In a year that has been characterized by changes of plans and scaled back gatherings, we know this is sad news, especially for our graduating students. But, we are committed to holding a celebration that will be meaningful for our graduating students and their families.
We want to design alternatives that will be meaningful for you. This might include holding smaller graduation celebrations instead, such as by schools or departments, and creating an opportunity for graduates to walk across a stage in academic regalia (within all pandemic restrictions for social distancing and masking). On or about February 15, all prospective 2021 graduates will receive a survey asking what it is that is most important for you to experience during a graduation celebration. Knowing what our 2021 graduates would find special will help us plan for a memorable experience.
At about the same time as this survey goes out, information will also be shared about other Commencement-related milestones, including ordering caps and gowns and the Senior and Graduate Student Exit Survey.
Commencement is a culmination of hard work and deserves a celebration. Please take some time to complete the survey so that you can help us plan meaningful celebrations. My many thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding as we manage these uncertain times.
As the situation evolves and potential plans for altered graduation ceremonies are created, The Springfield Student will continue to report on the new information. Seniors should continue to check their Springfield College email address for surveys regarding altered graduation plans come May.