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Commencement

CommencementBecause of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have postponed the in-person celebration of the Class of 2020.

We surveyed members of the graduating class this spring, and received more than 350 responses, with a clear majority of you telling us that you want an in-person commencement ceremony when we can gather again. We hear you!  And, we are right there with you, looking forward to celebrating this milestone as a community.

Please know that we are looking at the calendar and working to identify tentative dates for commencement, bearing in mind that we are working around many factors that are beyond our control. We’ll let you know as soon as we have those dates, so you can mark your calendars.  

We are hearing great things from the faculty about your commitment to your courses with the transition to remote instruction. You exemplify the Fitchburg State spirit and truly embody our motto of perseverantia (perseverance). Keep working hard and finish the semester strong.  You can do it, and we’ll celebrate your accomplishments together as soon as we can.

Updates and Communications

Commencement Update: May 2020 Graduates, Sept. 8

Dear Class of 2020,

We hope this message finds you well and busy with your life after earning your degree. While by now you have received your diplomas and can proudly call yourselves Fitchburg State graduates, we know you are still waiting to enjoy an in-person commencement ceremony. Our interactions with you have shown continued interest from many of you in such a gathering versus a virtual celebration.

Please know that we continue to move forward with an in-person ceremony in mind, but understand that we must continue to ask for patience. The state of Massachusetts has yet to issue guidelines as to when and how large gatherings can resume. Absent that guidance, we cannot announce a date or venue for your ceremony. We realize this delay is frustrating to many of you, but ask that you bear with us as we navigate a timeline that is beyond our control.

These delays along with potential availability of external venues mean that we may need to consider merging our celebration of the May 2020 class with the December 2020 or May 2021 graduates. We know that was not the first choice of spring graduates when we first sought your input earlier this year, but we want you to know that this is a consideration.

We will keep in touch with you as state guidance becomes clearer and our plans to honor your hard work and achievement move forward. Thank you.

Sincerely,

The Commencement Committee

Update for May 2020 Graduates, July 13

Dear Class of 2020,

The Fitchburg State University Commencement Committee is still considering when, where and how to hold an in-person commencement ceremony to honor our May 2020 graduates.

Our scenario planning includes large indoor venues away from campus. However, with large gatherings still prohibited by the state, the potential venues being explored are not yet reopened and there is no guidance on when they will be available or what their capacity will be. Given these uncertainties, we simply do not know when an in-person ceremony can be scheduled.

To help us determine what size venue is needed when we are allowed to assemble, we are asking May 2020 graduates to complete this brief survey (link below).  

Survey Link: https://forms.gle/vRT7fwN8Rqy8WnDt5

Thank you,

The Commencement Committee
Fitchburg State University

Update for May 2020 Graduates, April 24

Dear Class of 2020,

We are writing with a few quick commencement updates as we head into the last weeks of the semester.  We hope that you are all doing well and finishing the semester strong.  You are almost there! 

Postponed in-person commencement: We are still planning to reschedule our May commencement but given the current state and CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, it is too soon for us to know when we can gather in large groups.  We are looking at the university calendar for possibilities and will announce new dates as soon as we are able to do so.

Caps and gowns: Caps and gowns are currently not for sale.  Once we have confirmed commencement dates, we will then let you know when and how you can purchase your caps and gowns.

May celebration: You will still be completing your program requirements and earning your degree in May.  We want to celebrate your accomplishments and you should too!  So, watch your mail for a postcard in May that will direct you to a commencement celebration webpage for video congratulations!  

The Commencement Committee and all of us at Fitchburg State University are extremely proud of the work you have done to reach your graduation milestone.  We will keep in touch with you as we continue plans for commencement exercises.

Take good care of yourselves.

The Commencement Committee at Fitchburg State University

Commencement survey, April 8

Dear Class of 2020,

Thank you to so many of you that completed the commencement survey.  We received more than 350 responses, with a clear majority of you telling us that you want an in-person commencement ceremony when we can gather again.  We hear you!  And, we are right there with you, looking forward to celebrating this milestone as a community.

The commencement committee prepares for YOUR commencement exercises all year long and is dedicated to giving YOU the celebration that you and your family and guests deserve.  We don’t want to give it up either; so, we won’t. Please know that we are looking at the calendar and working to identify tentative dates for commencement, bearing in mind that we are working around many factors that are beyond our control. We’ll let you know as soon as we have those dates, so you can mark your calendars.  

We are hearing great things from the faculty about your commitment to your courses with the transition to remote instruction. You exemplify the Fitchburg State spirit and truly embody our motto of perseverantia (perseverance). Keep working hard and finish the semester strong.  You can do it, and we’ll celebrate your accomplishments together as soon as we can.

Sincerely,

The Commencement Committee

Postponement announcement, March 25

Dear Class of 2020,

I’ve been thinking of you since the coronavirus threat began and wishing that you, your family and friends are well. I hope you are able to maintain your personal connections, even if it is remotely for now. This is not the way we had anticipated returning to class after spring break.

Many of you have asked about our upcoming commencement. We have decided to postpone our May commencement celebrations due to current public health guidance. I am, however, uplifted by the number of you that have written and indicated your willingness to come together at a later date, whether it be on campus or elsewhere, to celebrate your accomplishments. We understand how much commencement means to you and your families, so please know that the university is fully committed to honoring and celebrating the Class of 2020.

As we continue to understand our new reality, we will be investigating all options to recognize your achievement and the arrival of this important milestone in your life. The University Commencement Committee is asking you, as members of the Class of 2020, for your ideas via this survey as to how we can make commencement memorable for you, your family, and friends. 

In the meantime, your degrees will be conferred in May, and you will receive your diplomas by mail by the end of June. 

I want to thank you for your continued understanding and the concern and support that you have shown toward one another. As always, our top priority must be the health and safety of our Fitchburg State community and those around us.  

The Fitchburg State motto is perseverance, and in challenging times throughout history, populations have come together, risen to the occasion, and overcome adversity. You are a talented and well-prepared class and we are immensely proud of you. Know that we are always here to support you. As a Falcon, Fitchburg State University will always be your home.

Sincerely,

Richard S. Lapidus
President