Sent Monday, Feb. 15, 2021
To the Campus Community:
When President Jonathan Holloway communicated the painful decision to require that every Rutgers commencement activity – regardless of the size or campus location of the graduating class – be held virtually this spring, he did so with regret and with full appreciation for the countless hours of hard work that each student has invested in reaching this moment.
I know that this news is devastating for our graduating students and their loved ones. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, and the danger it poses requires that all of us make difficult decisions in order to safeguard our own health, as well as that of our families and of members of our communities. Although vaccines are promising hope for an end to this crisis, we will not reach the critical mass of vaccinations necessary to allow us to hold in-person ceremonies of any size in May.
I, too, am profoundly disappointed that I won’t be able to share this important day with you and your families and friends, as are your deans and all of our faculty and staff. Celebrating our graduates’ achievements at commencement has always been the highlight of the year. Applauding the students whom we’ve had the honor of working (and growing) with is a privilege that our professors, administrators, and staff cherish, and I looked forward to joining them on that special day.
Although we cannot offer the in-person ceremony that our graduating students deserve in May, Rutgers–Camden is committed to celebrating their accomplishments. We are working to develop creative opportunities for them and their loved ones to enjoy as many of the moments that define the graduation experience as possible. The campus commencement committee is eager for your thoughts on how to maximize commencement activity this spring and how we might plan for an in-person ceremony later in the year, if public health guidelines permit. If you would like to share your ideas about alternative ways to celebrate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish that I could offer you different news. Although the postponement of in-person graduation ceremonies is deeply disappointing, I hope that everyone in the Class of 2021 will also feel a sense of singular accomplishment. You will have completed your degree and achieved your goals despite a host of unprecedented challenges imposed by the pandemic. While doing so, you have supported each other, your families, and your communities with a remarkable level of compassion and caring. Rutgers is proud of you, and so am I.
The Student Wellness Center is available to provide support for students dealing with stress and other challenges to their overall well-being. Please reach out to the Student Wellness Center to learn more about their resources.
We will work with the academic deans to develop a series of conversations with the Class of 2021 to discuss each school’s virtual ceremony. Within the next few weeks, we will communicate more details about how we will celebrate the Class of 2021 virtually this spring.
Margaret Marsh, Ph.D.