The University of Delaware announced Monday that Commencement and Convocation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 would be postponed until June 2021.
President Dennis Assanis said he was proud students had not only persevered, but succeeded, and said more time was necessary to understand the "evolving public health situation and its implications."
"As we have continued to closely monitor the pandemic and the uncertainty ahead, we have decided to postpone Commencement and Convocation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 until the spring of 2021," Assanis said. "I speak on behalf of the entire University faculty, staff and administration when I say how much we were hoping to reschedule our in-person graduation events for later this year...Regrettably, we have now come to the realization that it will not be feasible with current state guidelines and public health guidance pertaining to large gatherings."
After assessing venue spaces and logistics, including the adherence to safety protocols, Assassin said a typical UD Commencement ceremony involves 20,000 people--well over the 250 limit for outdoor gatherings currently in place.
"Scheduling an event at this order of magnitude right now would be neither responsible nor allowable with the restrictions on travel and the size of gatherings," he said. "The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases have resurged in Delaware and nationally. With crowds to gather, photos to capture and warm moments to celebrate, we would not want a UD Commencement to fall short of the meaningful and memorable experience it deserves to be. I am sure you are disappointed to hear this news, but please be assured that we have every intention of making this celebration of your academic achievement at UD a special one for you in 2021."
The currently scheduled date for the event is June 2-4, 2021, immediately preceding Alumni Weekend.