July 13, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

First, let me congratulate you once again on your graduation from the University of Delaware! Having met the unprecedented challenges of your last semester, you have much to be proud of as you not only persevered, but you succeeded. I hope you were able to join the online Blue Hen Celebration for the Class of 2020 that we held on May 30.

Iā€™m writing now to follow up with an update on plans for your Commencement and Convocation ceremonies. As I shared with you last April, we needed to take time to better understand the evolving public health situation and its implications on University planning across several areas, from operations of our facilities to academic and non-academic programming to events and so on ā€“ all while keeping the health and safety of our community top of mind. As we have continued to closely monitor the pandemic and the uncertainty ahead, we have decided to postpone Commencement and Convocation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 until the spring of 2021.

I speak on behalf of the entire University faculty, staff and administration when I say how much we were hoping to reschedule our in-person graduation events for later this year. We have assessed timing, venue/space access, production logistics and, most importantly, necessary adherence to health and safety protocols and regulations. Regrettably, we have now come to the realization that it will not be feasible with current state guidelines and public health guidance pertaining to large gatherings.

With graduates, families, friends, faculty, staff and administrators, a typical UD Commencement attracts some 20,000 people, while even the smallest Convocations involve more than 250 people. Scheduling an event at this order of magnitude right now would be neither responsible nor allowable with the restrictions on travel and the size of gatherings. The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases have resurged in Delaware and nationally. With crowds to gather, photos to capture and warm moments to celebrate, we would not want a UD Commencement to fall short of the meaningful and memorable experience it deserves to be. I am sure you are disappointed to hear this news, but please be assured that we have every intention of making this celebration of your academic achievement at UD a special one for you in 2021.

Therefore, please save the dates of June 2-4, 2021, when we tentatively plan to hold your Commencement/Convocation activities immediately preceding Alumni Weekend pending resolution of the pandemic situation; more information will follow.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the UD campus next spring during a time that will be truly celebratory for our entire Blue Hen alumni community. Again, congratulations to you all ā€“ an exceptional class of graduates that is moving forward at an extraordinary time when the world needs compassionate leadership, inspired creativity, and unstoppable resilience to take on any challenge that comes your way.

We are so very proud at the University of Delaware of all that you have accomplished.


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA  •   (302) 831-2111   •   udel.edu/president