President announces 2020 Commencement ceremonies cancelled

Dear members of the RIT community,

We have come to the difficult decision to cancel 2020 commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 8 and 9, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We had no choice but to make this heartbreaking decision to protect the health of students, their family members, faculty, staff, and the greater Rochester community.

Commencement is perhaps the most cherished occasion in the life of the university, and so we understand how important this celebration is to our graduates and their guests.

Please know that we did not make this decision lightly, and I fully share your disappointment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday recommended that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks, and we know that restrictions may increase. It is important for us to provide graduating students and their families certainty that they will not be asked to travel back to Rochester in early May.

The university will work hard to find a way to celebrate the Class of 2020 at a later date, when medical experts say it is safe. I invite ideas from our community on how we might best accomplish this.

In the meantime, I hope our graduating students will remember that, even though the previously scheduled ceremony is cancelled, this does not take away from your hard work and extraordinary accomplishments.

Everyone at RIT is especially proud of this graduating class, which has had to adapt to so many changes in their last semester. Although it may be difficult, we ask that our graduates rely on their can-do attitude and the Tiger family to finish strong this semester.  Please do not lose sight of all you have accomplished. Cherish the challenges you have overcome, the goals you have reached, the lifelong friendships you have made, and the diplomas you will have earned. Your future is bright.


David Munson

(A sign language interpreted version of this message is available on YouTube.)


A frame from the embedded video, with a play button over the image.

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