May Celebration of the Class of 2020 and October Commencement

Message sent April 21, 2020

Information on this page has recently been updated to reflect the further postponement of Commencement for the class of 2020. Read the full announcement here.

Message sent to seniors on behalf of Katie Barako, Special Projects Coordinator in the President’s Office, explaining the May celebration for the class of 2020 and October commencement ceremony.

Dear Gettysburg College Community,

I would like to thank all of the students who responded to the survey which asked for feedback about how the Class of 2020 would like celebrate their Commencement. More than 80% of the seniors responded, showing a great commitment to the College and to each other. The overwhelming majority wanted the opportunity to have an in-person Commencement, so we will do so. We also want to be sure that we do not let Sunday, May 17, go unnoticed, so I write to share with you the plans for both the May 17 celebration and the on-campus Commencement later this year. Please mark your calendars. More details about each event will follow as plans are finalized. We will also post updates and FAQs regularly on the Commencement website.

Earlier, we announced that per the graduates’ wishes we would hold an on-campus ceremony later this year. However, we also want to have a meaningful celebration of the Class of 2020 on May 17, their official graduation date.

A Celebration of the Class of 2020: May 16-17, 2020

Plans are underway to recognize graduates virtually with the goal of making the day as special as possible for the graduates. Degrees will be conferred by President Iuliano via a video on Sunday, May 17, and he will offer brief remarks to the class. Class President Callie Fucarino will also share a few words. Traditions are difficult to preserve at this very non-traditional time, so this will not serve as a Commencement. We expect, however, that our virtual efforts will be a joyful and different type of celebration.

Recognizing that celebrating with their faculty is important to students, academic departments are being invited to host virtual gatherings throughout the weekend of May 16 and 17. We are working with departments on those arrangements now and will share additional details about this as they become available.

The Stole of Gratitude is one of the greatest traditions at Gettysburg College and, while there will be a time when graduates can bestow their stole to someone in person, we are asking that the Class of 2020 submit notes of appreciation to those in the Gettysburg community who have supported them during their time at Gettysburg. We encourage students to send these notes directly to those who supported them, but also to so they can be included as part of our May 17 celebration.

Diplomas will be mailed to all graduates by the end of May.*

More information on how to participate in these activities will be forthcoming.

Belated Commencement Celebration: October 9-10, 2020

Please hold October 9-10, 2020, for this year’s Commencement Weekend in Gettysburg. Graduates and their families will enjoy all the pomp and circumstance that was expected in May. They will take part in our most cherished Commencement traditions:

Date Event
Friday October 9 Senior Class Party
Saturday October 10 Baccalaureate
Commencement Ceremony including Spring Honors Day Award recipients’ recognition
Departmental and Post-Commencement Receptions (graduates will have the opportunity to bestow their Stole of Gratitude).

The Commencement Committee will send additional detailed communications in the coming weeks to graduates and their families. In these uncertain times, we will adhere as always to Pennsylvania’s public health advisories to ensure the safety of all participating in and supporting events in the coming year. If we need to further postpone, a decision will be made by September 1.

Students who plan to participate in the October Commencement ceremony will need to order regalia (gown, mortarboard, tassel and hood) by May 1. The vendor, Oak Hall, will send regalia directly to each student who makes a purchase, and a Stole of Gratitude will be included as a gift from the Alumni Association. Students who do not purchase regalia will receive their Stole of Gratitude directly from the College at a later date. Though graduates will not be expected to wear regalia until October 10, we ask all graduates to purchase their regalia early because we realize that many may want to take graduation photos between now and then. Some may even choose to wear their regalia on May 17 as they celebrate with family and friends.

Oak Hall has indicated that they currently have a backlog of processing refunds due to working with limited staff. Students who had already purchased regalia have two options:

  1. wait for Oak Hall to issue the refund before placing a new ship to home order (the May 1 ordering deadline still applies) OR
  2. place a new ship to home order now, then wait for Oak Hall to refund the initial order.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

In early May, the College will mail flag patches to students who studied abroad. Any other graduation items that we have for students, such as departmental honor cords, will also be mailed.

Congratulations to Gettysburg College’s remarkable Class of 2020!

Katie Barako

*Update: Diplomas will be delivered by mid-June.