As many events are being canceled and postponed due to COVID-19, college graduations are being rescheduled too.

On Monday, April 20, 2020, an email was sent to students and faculty at SUNY New Palz regarding the 2020 commencement. Most students were wondering what was going to happen with the graduation ceremony, especially since Marist had made an announcement to postpone their ceremony. The announcement confirmed that SUNY New Paltz would be postponing its May 2020 ceremony until May 2021.

In a place holder event, SUNY New Paltz will host a virtual commencement. According to their website, the virtual commencement will take place on May 22, 2020. It will feature abbreviated commencement speeches, photos of students with their names, and congratulatory messages. The virtual ceremony will honor August 2019, December 2019 and January 2020 graduates, and May 2020 and August 2020 candidates.

Here is the statement sent to students and faculty from SUNY New Paltz:

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The College is moving forward with plans to reschedule the postponed May 2020 Commencement Ceremonies to May 2021, and will hold a virtual, pre-recorded Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2020, as part our effort to recognize our students in this uncertain time.

Our number one priority is to provide our graduates and candidates with the opportunity to return to campus for a safe, in-person Commencement celebration next year to recognize their years of hard work and accomplishments in earning a college degree. We will share additional details about a May 2021 in-person celebration at a later date. While we initially considered a fall ceremony, the uncertainty of the pandemic’s timeline and the lack of a vaccine led us to conclude that a May 2021 in-person ceremony would be most prudent.

The virtual Commencement Ceremony WILL NOT REPLACE an in-person Commencement celebration for our August 2019, December 2019 and January 2020 graduates, and May 2020 and August 2020 candidates. Those eligible to participate will be recognized individually through a slide show that features their degree, major, academic honors and a photo and quote of their choice.

We are organizing this pre-recorded event as a way for our campus community to celebrate and reflect on the end of the 2019-20 academic year, even as we continue to live, work, teach and learn in accordance with social distancing guidelines. A digital Commencement program is being created to mark this virtual celebration and will be available on the Commencement website on May 22.

Diplomas for August and December 2019 and January 2020 graduates have already been mailed. Diplomas for May and December 2020 candidates will be mailed once their degree requirements are completed and their degrees are certified by the College Registrar.

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