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U. will hold virtual commencement, postpones in-person ceremony to 2021

<h6>Photo Credit: Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Photo Credit: Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

On Wednesday afternoon, President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 wrote to the members and families of the Class of 2020 announcing the cancelation of this year’s Commencement ceremony due to coronavirus. In-person festivities will be rescheduled to “the days just before Reunions 2021.”

“At first, we hoped that we might bring you back for your scheduled Commencement ceremony,” Eisgruber explained. “When the pandemic persisted and deepened, the impossibility of an in-person ceremony became clear.”


Eisgruber asked families to “save the date for a unique commencement to honor a class that is itself unique in the University’s history.” According to the announcement, the ceremony will take place on either Wednesday, May 19, 2021, or Thursday, May 20, 2021.

University administrators will work with class leadership to determine which date works best.

“Your class has achieved as much as any in memory, and you have sacrificed considerably more than any that I can recall,” Eisgruber said in his email. “Each and every senior on this campus lost precious opportunities and long-anticipated moments when this awful pandemic forced Princeton’s spring semester online.”

In lieu of an in-person ceremony, the University will “officially and enthusiastically” confer degrees on Sunday, May 31 — as scheduled — in a virtual ceremony.

A statement by the Office of Communications announced that there will be no Baccalaureate service this spring. Additionally, options for possible Class Day events are “being explored” by University administrators in partnership with class leadership.

Alternative dates for a virtual Hooding Ceremony for graduate students and a virtual ROTC Commissioning Ceremony have not yet been determined. However, students earning graduate degrees this year have been invited to participate in the on-campus Hooding Ceremony on May 24, 2021.


The cancelation of in-person commencement exercises this spring falls in line with similar decisions announced by peer institutions such as Harvard and Yale.

“Your class will always have a special place in my heart and in Princeton’s history,” Eisgruber concluded in his email. “I wish we could celebrate you on campus this June, in your class year; I look forward to doing so in May 2021.”

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