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Message from Dean Glaser and Dean Cook about Commencement for the Class of 2021

Dear graduate 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.

Nonetheless, we have been striving to 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 for you 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 pandemic is complex.

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 your ceremony when it is broadcast on Commencement Day, Sunday, May 23.

While full details about the GSAS 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.
  • Doctoral students will also be invited to participate in a virtual hooding ceremony, and Master’s students will also be recognized with a virtual event. More details will follow.
  • In addition to the departmental ceremonies, all GSAS (including SMFA) graduate students will be able to participate in our virtual Graduate Student Awards.
  • 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 GSAS graduate and their loved ones, 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 gsas@tufts.edu.

With best wishes,

James M. Glaser
Dean, School of Arts and Sciences

Robert G. Cook
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Science