Commencement Updates

To: UCSC students

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

Dear students,

The class of 2020 deserves a celebration. Our graduating seniors are demonstrating such resilience in the face of an unprecedented final year of college and have set an example for our campus of success and camaraderie. This is a group that will have many stories to tell at Alumni Weekends in the future and who we can't wait to welcome back to campus.

As I announced in early April, we will not be able to have an in-person commencement in June. Based on survey feedback from more than 2,200 students as well as recommendations from the Commencement 2020 Working Group and the Commencement 2020 Steering Committee, we have decided to hold virtual commencements in June for the 13 undergraduate main venue events and plan to also have an in-person commencement ceremony when it is safe to reconvene.

The 13 main venue events are the 10 college commencement ceremonies, Black Grad, Chicanx Latinx Year-End Ceremony (CLYEC), and the Baskin School of Engineering Graduation Celebration. Participating in the remote events will not prevent anyone from participating in in-person celebrations later. The Graduate Division has elected to postpone the graduate hooding ceremony until it is safe to reconvene and will be in touch with graduate students with more information. The coordinator for your ceremony or celebration will be reaching out to provide additional information. If you have not already registered, please make sure you complete the registration by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Information on how to register can be found on the commencement website. For any questions you have, please contact the commencement team.

The survey feedback from students was particularly useful in making this decision as more than 42% of respondents requested either a remote ceremony or a remote ceremony now and an in-person ceremony when it is possible. Many of the comments in the survey asked to ensure that there was an opportunity to celebrate for students and families who might not have the opportunity to return to campus soon because of financial constraints, employment, or moving to a new area. It was very moving to see so many students advocate for accessibility for their peers.

Students also told us what was most important to them about commencement with celebrating in person and on campus as two of the top considerations. You can see a summary of the survey data here. Both the Commencement Working Group and the Commencement Steering Committee will remain charged to help plan for a celebration when we can come back together in person. A Logistics Working Group has also been charged to help ensure that the celebration is safe and feasible. We expect to survey students again as we get closer to returning to in-person operations.

I want to thank the many staff and faculty members who have been hard at work to ensure that we can celebrate remotely in June and who will continue to work to bring us together in-person. Thank you all for bringing our community of learning off the hill and out into the world. We are looking forward to celebrating with you. Until then, stay safe, stay well, and stay connected.

–Chancellor Cindy Larive