Dear Students and Families, 

Commencement is an important celebration for our entire community, especially in the life of our students as they complete their journey to earn their college degree. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the College has been committed to bringing Commencement back to campus in a safe manner. Barring any significant changes in COVID-19 health and safety protocols from state and federal officials, Wilson College will host in-person and on-campus Commencement activities May 15 and 16, 2021 for the undergraduate and graduate classes of 2020 and 2021. We have also been in communication with other institutions about how they are handling these events, and our plans emulate many of theirs. However, should the progress of the pandemic change and we see a spike in numbers, the College may need to cancel the in-person events and transition to virtual celebrations. Everyone’s health and safety are our top priority.

In order to keep everyone safe, and in compliance with federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines, there are some required changes to our traditional Commencement events. And, while I hope many of our graduates will attend, these events are not required.

What is not changing?

  • Commencement events will be held on the Main Green.
  • Both undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will include speakers.
  • Graduates will walk across the stage and be greeted by the president.
  • All ceremonies will be live-streamed.
  • Appropriate Regalia will be required to participate.

What’s different this year?

  • One Baccalaureate event will be held, combining both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. This event will be virtual only and shared via internet link.
  • No in-person rehearsals will be held. Instructions for the ceremonies will be pre-recorded and available to all students via a link on Canvas.
  • All graduates, regardless of class year, will be required to RSVP their attendance.
  • All graduates, regardless of class year, will be restricted to only 2 guests, and those guests must be registered in advance. There may be an opportunity to request additional tickets. Tickets will be distributed ahead of time.
  • All faculty who plan to attend and participate in the march will be required to RSVP.
  • Our alums will be symbolically represented by one individual versus the traditional Blue and Silver Line.
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has issued guidance for outdoor activities and included a maximum number of attendees. By hosting multiple ceremonies, we can keep our total number of event participants below the Commonwealth’s recommended threshold.

Saturday, May 15, 2021, Class of 2020
Undergraduate ceremony @ 10 a.m.
Graduate ceremony @ 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 16, 2021, Class of 2021
Undergraduate ceremony @ 10 a.m.
Graduate ceremony @ 2 p.m.

  • There will be no receptions on campus following the ceremonies.
  • All attendees must wear a face mask and maintain social distancing. Accommodations for social distancing will be made in how the event is set up on the green.
  • Hand sanitizer and face mask stations will be placed at entrances to the Main Green.
  • Due to limitations on the total number of attendees allowed at each event, Wilson students who are not participating in that particular ceremony will not be able to attend.
  • In the case of rain, a decision will be communicated at least 1 day in advance. All activities will switch to virtual only, with no on-campus, in-person event, and will be shared via internet link. At a later date, graduates will have the chance to walk across the stage in regalia for a photo op with the president.

There are also a number of long-standing traditions that annually accompany our Commencement activities. We have a dedicated group of individuals from across campus working on how to still embrace those traditions, but in a safe, mindful way. As they work through those details, more information will be shared.

Future Graduates – Make sure to watch your Wilson email for upcoming communications about Commencement. You will receive instructions soon to order Regalia, invitations, and announcements. We will also share how to RSVP for your respective event and how to register your guests. 

Thank you in advance for your patience as we work through the many logistical details associated with Commencement weekend. With transparent communication and everyone following the safety guidelines, we are sure to have a wonderful event that celebrates all of our graduates and their special achievements.

Wesley R. Fugate, Ph.D.