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March 8, 2021 Message from Dean Glaser, Dean Qu, and Dean Bauer about Commencement for the Class of 2021

Dear undergraduate students,

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

Earlier today, you received a message from President Monaco regarding the university’s plans for Commencement 2021. We fully support those plans, and we are committed to creating a meaningful experience for your graduation. At the same time, we also share your disappointment that the pandemic will prevent us from hosting our traditional, university-wide event. We appreciate how difficult this entire situation continues to be and the sacrifices you have made this year.

In anticipation that this would be the case, we recently invited you to share your preferences regarding the shape of this year’s commencement activities should they need to be curtailed. More than 70 percent of you said that any formal ceremony–even without your family and friends being physically present–would be much appreciated. We have been striving to respect your wishes and preserve some in-person aspects of our commencement festivities to honor and recognize your accomplishments.

We are pleased to share with you our intention to create a Commencement celebration this spring that will be robust, inclusive, and incorporate both in-person and virtual components. As you can imagine, organizing such a ceremony during this time of a pandemic is complex.

While full details about the AS&E Commencement ceremony will be shared with you in the coming weeks, here is what we know right now:

  • All 2021 graduates will be invited to participate in a Commencement ceremony in April and early May during which their accomplishments will be recognized by academic leadership and their peers.
  • Students studying in person will cross the stage in cap and gown while those studying remotely will participate via video. Due to COVID protocols, remote students cannot come to campus to participate in person. The last date that students can change their status from remote to in person and begin onboarding is Sunday, March 14.
  • The ceremonies will be organized by department and limited to a maximum of 83 participants (including faculty and staff) to comply with physical distancing requirements. Larger departments will need to have several ceremonies.
  • The ceremonies will be videotaped for broadcast on Commencement Day.
  • Unfortunately, family and friends will not be able to attend the ceremonies in person under any circumstances, but they will be able to celebrate your great achievement and witness the ceremony when it is broadcast on Commencement Day, Sunday, May 23.
  • Departments may elect to organize additional virtual events.
  • Senior Week events will be virtual so that all students can participate. Additional information about Senior Week programming will be communicated to the class directly by TUSC, Tufts University Social Collective.
  • All students in campus housing must move out by noon on Saturday, May 15.

We are all aware that the pandemic remains a very fluid and unpredictable situation, and because of this, much remains unknown regarding potential future changes to local, state, and federal regulations. Accordingly, we must be prepared to change our plans if COVID-19 restrictions tighten in the coming months.

While we understand that these plans may not be ideal for every student and their family, please know that we are committed to doing our very best to celebrate your hard work and accomplishments, and to maintaining our community’s safety as our top priority.

We look forward to celebrating with you and seeing you off on your next adventure. If you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

With best wishes,

James M. Glaser
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Political Science

Jianmin Qu
Karol Family Professor
Dean of the School of Engineering

Nancy Bauer
Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
Professor of Philosophy