Dear members of the Class of 2020,
We are excited to announce that the university will hold in-person Commencement ceremonies for your class May 1–2, as previously scheduled.
Commencement is an essential and cherished part of the Vanderbilt experience, and we have made a determined effort to host you in person ever since last year’s event was postponed. As with our decision to reopen campus to learning and teaching this past fall, the Vanderbilt community has shown that it can come together and succeed in spite of the challenges of the pandemic. Holding Commencement in person would not have been possible without the ongoing commitment shown by our students, faculty and staff in observing safety protocols and supporting each other during these unprecedented times.
The undergraduate ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be Saturday, May 1, at Vanderbilt Stadium. Ceremonies for graduate and professional schools will be Sunday, May 2, at outdoor locations across campus. Each graduate may have up to two guests attend their ceremony.
We worked to keep these previously announced ceremony dates, which were selected last year after evaluating input from the 2020 Graduating Student Committee, campus partners and other stakeholders who will contribute to events throughout the weekend.
As we count down to Commencement, it is imperative that everyone complies with health and safety procedures leading up to and during the ceremonies to ensure that they can still take place as planned. This will only be possible with people’s strict adherence to the university’s health and safety protocols.
Following the guidance of the university’s public health experts, all of the Commencement events will take place outdoors and require all attendees to wear masks and observe physical distancing. The two guests of each graduate will sit together in “pod-style” seating but must keep their masks on and maintain physical distance from other guests.
Tickets for graduates and their two guests will be available starting March 8 and must be reserved by March 31.
We encourage you to regularly check the Class of 2020 Commencement website, as event plans could change based on current COVID-19 conditions. Additionally, we will email you any pertinent information leading up to the ceremonies.
Since not all graduates and their friends and families will be able to attend in person, we are also planning a special virtual experience for Commencement. During the livestreams of the weekend’s events, we will recognize all graduates, whether they are attending virtually or in person.
We look forward to welcoming many of you back to campus for this special celebration.
Susan R. Wente