Dickinson College has made the decision not to host a graduation ceremony in May for the Class of 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus. No date has been announced for the rescheduled Commencement proceedings.
In an email to the Dickinson College community on March 23, President Margee Ensign announced that the college had made the “difficult decision” to cancel both the May Commencement ceremony, and all senior week activities. “I suppose it will not come as much of a surprise, given the situation” said Ensign.
Ensign explained that the cancellation of the May exercises is a result of concern stemming from the coronavirus. “This unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented responsibility of each of us,” said Ensign, “for your safety, the safety of your family, the safety of your friends, and the safety of our entire community, it is clear that we cannot continue to plan for a large in-person celebration this spring. We simply can’t.”
Some students expressed their disappointment with the announcement. “People prepare for this, by which I mean families and booking hotels and things like that, for years. There’s no way to guarantee people can get off work and book hotels if necessary,” said Dylan Chambers ’20, “depending on how late it is postponed many students could be in situations with work or grad school where they either can’t afford or are otherwise unable to attend.”
Ensign stressed however that Commencement exercises will still occur for the senior class, but that a reschedule date has not yet been decided. She noted that she understands how this announcement may be viewed as disappointing. However, an in-person ceremony cannot be held until “when it is safe to do so.”
Students on the whole were understanding of the announcement however. Maclane Speer ’20 said “it’s obviously the right thing to do, and I appreciate the guarantee of postponement instead of cancellation as a senior.”
“I understand it’s a hard decision, but I hope we get to have senior week and commencement both to provide closure,” said Sean Dowd ’20, “but I guess it’s hard to say, and the worst part there’s really no way to know what’s going to happen past a month.”
“It is disappointing but in no way surprising to me” added Chambers, “I’m obviously upset by it and really saddened by missing out on this experience and how meaningful it could be.”