Commencement Update - March 29, 2021
Dear Members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021,
You’ve been patiently waiting to hear our plans for your Commencement celebration. This is such an important event for you and your family, and I am excited to be a part of your special day.
Employees across the University have been busy planning the Commencement ceremonies to celebrate the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 this May. We would have been in touch sooner, but we have been awaiting word from local government officials—specifically in Baltimore City—on what we are permitted to do with current COVID-19 regulations. We continue to seek confirmation as we plan our celebrations.
Today, I want to share with you our preferred plan, but also let you know that we have backup plans for smaller in-person celebrations in case we are not able to execute that plan. We did not want to keep you waiting any longer.
All our Commencement ceremonies will be held at Loyola’s very own Ridley Athletic Complex. We are very excited to celebrate at a Loyola facility, and we look forward to making these ceremonies special and memorable for you and your families.
Our preferred plan for our Commencement exercises is:
Master’s & Doctoral Candidates/Recipients in the Classes of 2020 and 2021: Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m.
Bachelor’s Degree Candidates in the Class of 2021: Saturday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m.
Bachelor’s Degree Recipients in the Class of 2020: Saturday, May 22, at 2:30 p.m.
In this model, each participant will be permitted to bring two guests to the ceremony, and all events will be livestreamed to ensure that your family and friends can participate even from afar. We will be in touch about ticketing as plans come together.
Playwright, actor, and professor Anna Deavere Smith, who had been identified as our Commencement speaker for the ceremony scheduled for last May, is eager to address our students and graduates after the disappointment of not being able to attend last year. We are planning to give her an honorary doctorate in person in New York and record her remarks there to share at all the ceremonies.
If, because of city guidelines, we are unable to hold ceremonies of this size for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, we will instead plan multiple smaller ceremonies over the course of that weekend. We ask for your patience, understanding, and that you save those dates as we confirm details. We all want certainty that we will be able to make these events happen, but it would not be fair to you for us to promise an event that we cannot execute.
We all know how plans have had to change over the course of the pandemic, so it's possible we will have to take a different approach, particularly as public health guidance changes. It is important, however, to give you dates and times so you can begin to plan, count down, and look forward to this celebration.
We are also working toward creating an in-person Baccalaureate Mass to be celebrated on a weekday prior to Commencement weekend. Our hope is that we could allow members of the Class of 2020 and 2021 to attend in person while their families participate virtually. As soon as we can confirm those details, we will be in touch so you can plan.
More information will be forthcoming about tickets and the many other details of your Commencement ceremony.
Questions can be sent to email@example.com, and additional information and updates will be posted on our Commencement website.
Loyola is committed to making your Commencement ceremony a memorable day that fully celebrates you and all you have achieved during your time at Loyola. We ask for your understanding as we must continue to require mask-wearing, social distancing, and other measures to ensure the health and safety of all attending. If you can be vaccinated prior to the ceremony, we encourage you to do so.
Please know that as much as we are trying to firm up plans, these dates are subject to change due to changes in public health conditions and health and government restrictions. We might have to make last-minute changes due to the pandemic. Thank you for being flexible with your planning and potential changes around travel arrangements.
We look forward to being together, marking this milestone in a truly special way, and assure you we have some wonderful surprises in store.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.