March 8, 2021

Dear Members of the Class of 2021,

As this historic year continues to unfold, we are all thinking toward May and the culminating event of your college career: our 103rd Commencement. I am very pleased to announce today that commencement exercises for the Class of 2021 will be held in person and on campus—on Tempel Green—Thursday, May 20, 2021. Please note that we have moved the date back three days, from Sunday to Thursday, to protect your health and ensure a safer event for all. Ethan Brown ’93, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, will give the keynote.

I am also delighted to let you know that you will be allowed to invite two family members or guests to attend with you. Working with state officials and our partners at Hartford HealthCare, we are planning a ceremony that adheres to current state and local guidelines for large outdoor events, with universal masking and social distancing, as well as required proof of a negative test for both students and guests. For family and friends who cannot be present, we will livestream and record the event to be watched from a distance or on a later date.

All of you—whether you are living on campus or studying remotely—are invited to be present. The week of May 17, we will host senior celebration events along with some traditional Commencement Weekend programming. Increased testing will be in place to enhance your safety. Dean Arcelus will write to you directly with more information.

Of course, there are many details to work out in the next two months, and undoubtedly you will have more questions. You will find the most up-to-date information on our Commencement website, along with a detailed FAQ. 

Class of 2021, you have been so resilient throughout this unforgettable year, so I don’t need to tell you that circumstances could change unexpectedly, requiring us to adjust our plans. Please know that, no matter what happens, we will work with you to find the best possible solution. 

For now, I look forward to seeing you all together on May 20 and celebrating you as you walk across Tempel Green. I am grateful to our Commencement Committee and to all of our creative and dedicated staff whose hard work is making this day possible for you.

Katherine Bergeron