BREAKING: 2020 graduates will have to wait a year for live commencement

By Alexandra Yetter, Editor-in-Chief

Courtesy Columbia College Chicago
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Columbia’s 2020 commencement ceremony has been canceled. However, this year’s graduates may have the opportunity to be part of ceremonies held in May 2021.

After graduating seniors were in an uproar over the cancellation of May’s commencement ceremony—including marshaling a petition signed by thousands against the move—President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim announced that the college is now exploring a ceremony—in 2021.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted our community and the world in ways that we could have never imagined,” Kim said in a Friday, April 3 collegewide email. “Part of the toll of this crisis on our college, is our inability to hold Commencement this year.”

Kim said the college is exploring the possibility of adding commencement ceremonies in May 2021 to honor those who would have participated in this year’s ceremonies. A date and instructions for these ceremonies will be announced later this year, he said.

“While a year is a long time to wait to walk across the stage and hear one’s name being called, we are working on ways to give the class of 2020 and their loved ones a chance to mark this momentous occasion remotely, this coming May,” Kim said.

The college will continue several graduating traditions, including the commencement poem, speakers and cover art competitions. The deadline for these competitions has been extended through April 17.

After the March 23 announcement of commencement’s cancellation and that Manifest would be held virtually, students created a petition calling for the ceremony to be postponed to the summer, as many other colleges, such as Loyola University Chicago, have chosen to do. As of press time, that petition has nearly 4,000 signatures.

“The tragic events going on all around us cannot diminish how proud I and all the faculty are of our students in general, and our soon-to-be graduates in particular,” Kim said in the email. “As we work to bring the semester to a successful conclusion, you can be assured that we are looking to assuage any negative impact that this crisis may have on your ability to complete your studies and on our planned communal celebrations.”


Check back for more updates.