April 30, 2020 | From President McClure: Commencement to be postponed until fall

Tori Murden McClure

Dear Spalding Students,

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have wondered about the status of our 2020 Commencement. Unfortunately, this year, the need to avoid large gatherings and stay socially distant will force us to postpone the June 6 Commencement ceremony and reimagine how it’s conducted.

Spalding absolutely still plans to celebrate our graduating Class of 2020 and intends to do it in an in-person setting that is safe for our graduates and their loved ones. To that end, we will be postponing Commencement until August, September or possibly October, with exact dates still to be determined.

Instead of the large university-wide ceremony in which a few thousand people gather in the same church sanctuary, we will hold a series of smaller ceremonies for individual academic disciplines, likely spread out over multiple dates this fall and held at multiple venues on or around campus. This approach will help us limit the number of people who are on campus or at a single venue at the same time.

These smaller ceremonies will be similar to the school-specific ones traditionally held on the Friday before Commencement. Though they’ll occur later than initially planned, we hope these smaller ceremonies will be meaningful, memorable opportunities for graduates to celebrate their achievements with the classmates and faculty who know them best. Provost Burden and I will be at every ceremony to confer degrees.

  • We will let faculty from the individual academic programs – in consultation with student leaders – determine which dates are appropriate for ceremonies for their programs. Faculty leaders will gather input from the Student Government Association and other student organizations related to their academic programs.
  • We hope to announce the dates and sites for the various ceremonies by July in order to give graduates and their families time to make plans.
  • Graduating students are encouraged to hold off on ordering regalia until this summer. We will send more guidance and instructions on this later.
  • We unfortunately do not expect to stage a separate baccalaureate service this year, but we do plan to incorporate elements of baccalaureate into the individual Commencement ceremonies.
  • We will move forward with these in-person Commencement ceremonies only if it’s safe to do so. If conditions regarding the coronavirus do not improve by the fall, we may stage a virtual Commencement.

We are so proud of our graduates for finishing their degrees, especially during these challenging times when our entire way of life has been disrupted. The University will do everything it can to make this Commencement a special one because our graduates deserve it.

All the best,



Tori Murden McClure

Spalding University President