President Carolyn J. Stefanco sent the following message to Saint Rose students today:
We know that the seniors and graduate students who will complete their degrees in May have worked hard for years to make it to commencement. It is a favorite day for all of us at Saint Rose. We love to see all the smiles, waves, and selfies during the procession to “Pomp and Circumstance,” to watch you dance and pump your fists when you walk across the stage, and to hear your family members and friends shouting words of elation.
We are not giving that up, not even for COVID-19.
With the increasing number of confirmed cases of the virus in New York State, and in other parts of the world, it is clear that commencement cannot be held May 9 as planned. While we do not know exactly how the Coronavirus pandemic will play out, at this time it is safe to say that 5,000 people gathering in the Times Union Center in just over a month is not in the interest of our own community or of the public health.
We also know that a virtual commencement is not why you spent those long hours working in the library, studios, classrooms, and labs. It is not the experience your family and friends have anticipated. It is not what we promised you when you chose Saint Rose. That is why the College, as it seeks feedback from students and faculty on how we can create a special day for everyone, is working to set a date in September to hold commencement for the graduates of 2020.
September is a great time to celebrate those who are completing degrees at the end of this academic year because it is the month that the College will celebrate its 100th anniversary. It will also allow us to better engage the entire Saint Rose community and ensure that our graduates do not feel like they missed out with the postponement of graduation from May to September 2020.
How long COVID-19 will affect daily life is unknown, but we thought it was important to give you a timeframe to plan toward, and one that may be far enough in the future that we will not have to postpone commencement again. We want you to start looking forward to reuniting with your classmates, friends, and faculty to celebrate your time at Saint Rose.
Many of you have had questions regarding orders for graduation attire that they have placed. None of those orders will be shipped, and you will not be charged. As soon as the September commencement date is set, we will provide instructions to this year’s graduates on how to order their regalia. If you have questions about any orders you may have placed through the College’s campus store, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We understand that not having commencement in May is disappointing, and September seems a long time away, but it will not dampen our enthusiasm for what you have achieved. We will be filled with pride, not only for what you have accomplished academically but for the resilience you have shown in these challenging times.