March 12, 2021

Dear Class of 2021,

As we look ahead to the remainder of the spring semester, the University of Delaware is committed to celebrating you — the remarkable Class of 2021 — and recognizing the culmination of your student experience as you prepare to graduate. I am proud of each and every one of you for persevering through adversity and reaching such an important milestone in your lives. You have proven that no challenge is too great as you ready yourselves for the infinite possibilities that lie ahead. As we always say here at UD: You are Blue Hens forever!

Over the past year, we have all learned together how to slow the spread of the coronavirus — wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance, testing frequently — while also changing our behaviors to safely manage small events and gatherings. Several members of the UD community have already received a COVID-19 vaccination, and the nationwide vaccination program is expected to expand over the coming weeks.

As long as progress continues regarding the health and safety of the UD community, we remain cautiously optimistic that an in-person Commencement ceremony, or several smaller ceremonies, consistent with health guidelines, may be possible at the end of May.

In order to enable this opportunity to recognize the Class of 2021, we need to begin planning now. Based on input from UD student focus groups conducted earlier this semester, the University is exploring three possible Commencement options, and we are eager to hear your feedback and preference for how to honor your achievement:

  • One in-person Commencement ceremony: The entire Class of 2021 would gather at Delaware Stadium on Saturday, May 29. To maintain proper physical distancing in the stadium, families and guests would regrettably not be able to attend in person. The event would also be live streamed online.
  • Several smaller in-person ceremonies: The Class of 2021 would be split over multiple days and times (Friday, May 28, and Saturday, May 29) to allow smaller ceremonies at Delaware Stadium. This would allow each graduate to invite two guests. The events would also be live streamed online.
  • All-virtual celebration: An interactive, online experience to celebrate the Class of 2021.

We all need to understand that while an in-person event is very possible, it is not guaranteed. The number of COVID-19 cases must be under control in our community, and the University will need to secure special permission from the state of Delaware for any large gatherings. Accordingly, an all-digital celebration will remain an option in case it is determined that an in-person event will present too much risk to the health and safety of our community.

Please take a moment to complete this short survey by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, to share your opinion on these options. [Note: A unique link was sent to each graduating student.]

We expect to provide an update on plans for the Class of 2021 celebration as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for sharing your input. I know this is a special time for all of you, and I appreciate your resilience and flexibility as we determine the best solution to honor your achievements and indomitable Blue Hen spirit. You are an inspiring class of students, and we are all looking forward to celebrating you in the most meaningful way possible.


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE   •