News, On Campus, Featured Story, Coronavirus Updates

May Commencement Canceled, Could Be Moved to October

Boston College’s May Commencement is now canceled over concerns due to the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on social gatherings, according to an email sent to the Class of 2020. The University is looking into holding a Commencement for spring BC graduates at some point in the fall, the email said, though it cannot set a definitive date given the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak. 

“It is now clear that this event cannot take place as scheduled, which I realize will be a major disappointment for you, your families, and the entire Boston College community,” University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. said in the email. “Like you and so many others, I very much regret that we will not have Commencement next month.”

BC is focusing particularly on the weekend of Oct. 9 through Oct. 11 to hold Commencement activities including the Senior Toast, Commencement Ball, graduation ceremony, and conferrals of diplomas. Deans and other BC leaders will be looking into ways to celebrate graduate and professional students who are earning degrees this year, Leahy said. 

The weekend of Oct. 9 to 11 was the “overwhelming favorite” among 1,900 seniors who responded to a survey sent out by the University. The other date option listed on the survey was the weekend of Oct. 23. 

Students eligible to graduate will still be awarded their diplomas on May 18.

“Though our 2020 Commencement will be deferred from its usual time in May, our intent is to have a memorable, joyful experience, one that recognizes the successes of graduates as well as the sacrifices and support of parents, siblings, spouses, and friends,” Leahy said in the email. “I especially look forward to another Boston College graduation, this time in the fall.”

BC moved all classes online and closed the residence halls on March 11 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, prompting several days of chaos on campus as students expressed a range of emotions in response to the abrupt end of their time on campus. 

A petition on calling for BC to hold an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2020 began circulating on March 17 and has since garnered nearly 3,000 signatures. The petition asks BC to consider holding Commencement at a later date rather than holding a virtual ceremony.

“Even if graduation is postponed to the distant future, we will not settle for an online graduation ceremony,” the petition reads. “We have worked too hard for the past 4 years to have commencement taken away from us.”

April 8, 2020