Dear 2020 Graduates,
First, let me thank all of you who have shared your thoughts, hopes and preferences about your commencement. They have been very helpful as we have drawn up the plans. And now we are ready to share with you the plans for your commencement.
The first part will be a short web-streamed event (approximately 45 minutes) on Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 12 noon (Eastern Daylight Time). Note that this is a one-week delay from the previously planned campus commencement. This event will feature President David Angel conferring your degrees, and several other important elements from Clark’s traditional campus commencement exercises, including:
- The Undergraduate student speaker
- The Graduate student speaker
- The Faculty Chair speaker
We will also include a variety of entertainments celebrating Clark’s students and its graduates.
We also are creating a special website that will feature, among other elements, a picture of every graduate (as desired by you, our graduates). We will link each picture to the names and major(s) of every graduate. This site will also allow us to include links to other content provided by graduates. We will begin asking you for this material in the days ahead and will provide the specifications at that time. This special website will be public starting on May 24 and thereafter, including recordings from the event itself.
We will mail your diplomas to you after the May 24 event. The mailing will include several copies of the traditional commencement program, which contains a complete listing of all graduates, their honors and other details.
Finally, we are planning for a campus face-to-face celebration of your graduation next fall—or whenever such gatherings are safe. We will invite you and your families and friends to a campus celebration, approximately one day in length. This will be an opportunity for graduates to gather face-to-face with each other and with Clark faculty, staff and administrators to celebrate in a way that will not be possible this May. While the details of the celebration have yet to be determined—and you can make recommendations! (FallGraduationCelebration@ClarkU.edu)—we currently imagine the day to include:
- A “plenary” shared event, perhaps one hour in length, featuring David Angel and new President David Fithian
- Doctoral hooding for all doctoral graduates in attendance
- Departmental gatherings and parties
- A dance and other live entertainment
One other thing that we heard loud and clear from you was concern about academic regalia, namely caps and gowns. Here we have good news. The plan is different depending on the academic degree:
- For bachelor’s degree recipients: You will be able to order your regalia and have it shipped to your homes. The site for ordering (https://buildagrad.com/clarku) is now open. If you order before midnight on Sunday, April 19, our vendor guarantees domestic delivery on or before May 19. The cost for the regalia remains the same as usual ($24) and Clark will pick up the shipping costs. You are not required to purchase regalia; but we are pleased that the option is available and will allow you, if you wish, to share pictures with regalia that we can post for you on the commencement website.
- For master’s degree recipients: You will also be able to order in the same manner as for bachelor’s recipients per the above (https://buildagrad.com/clarku). Two situations apply:
- If you have already ordered your regalia and requested that it be sent to Clark, you will be contacted by a staff member at Clark to determine if you would like to cancel the order or if you would like it shipped to your home. Clark will pay shipping costs.
- On the other hand, if you have already ordered your regalia and requested that it be sent to your home, your regalia will be shipped. Domestic delivery is guaranteed by May 19 if you order before midnight on Sunday, April 19. As with undergraduates, purchase of regalia is optional.
- For doctoral degree recipients: As in the past, Clark will provide your hood at the hooding event currently being planned for the fall campus event. You will also be able to order regalia in the same manner as for bachelor’s recipients per the above (https://buildagrad.com/clarku). Two situations also apply here:
- If you have already ordered (either rental or purchase) and asked to have regalia shipped to Clark, you will be contacted by a staff member at Clark to determine if you would like to cancel the order or if you would like it shipped to your home.
- If you ordered (either rental or purchase) and asked for your order to be shipped to home, you should be all set.
There are two other important matters regarding regalia:
- Honor cords: Since we will not know who is eligible for honors cords until shortly before the May 24 event, we will not be able to ship them to recipients in time for that event. Instead, we will include them in the diploma mailing that will be sent after the event.
- International shipping: As you may know, the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically impacted shipping internationally, at a minimum greatly slowing it and, depending on the locale, even stopping it presently. It is therefore impossible to predict how long regalia shipped internationally will take to arrive at its destination.
We are hugely disappointed that we cannot celebrate you on campus this May. We know this is a sad interruption for you. Traditional commencement is the highlight of the Clark year, and one of the most momentous celebrations and rites of passage for our graduates, their families and friends. We hope that, until we can gather again at the future campus celebration, the May 24 alternative commencement will go some distance toward filling this gap, honoring your achievements at Clark as they need to be and should be honored.
By the way, we have commencement surprises planned for you too—and ask for your understanding that the surprise factor will make them better.
With my Very Best Wishes to you and your loved ones to stay safe and healthy,
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs