I hope all is well with you and yours as we approach the end of the semester. I wanted to address a few matters connected to graduation and commencement.
First, as you know from announcements made by President Hibbs, we are postponing commencement until the weekend of October 16 through 18. Commencement itself will take place on the morning of Sunday, October 18. This decision was made after surveying May graduates about preferred timing, and there was a strong majority in favor of that weekend over the end of the Fall semester. It is a fitting weekend for many reasons, including the presence of many families and alumni already planning to be on campus for Alumni and Family Weekend. We look forward to celebrating our graduates, alumni and families together as a community dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtue as the proper and primary ends of education.
Second, I want to emphasize that there is an important distinction to be drawn between graduation and commencement. May graduates will still be graduating in May, and degrees will be conferred at that time. We will be processing diplomas so that our May graduates can move on to the next steps in their lives and careers. May graduates will have their diplomas mailed to them. The October Commencement, on the other hand, will be an opportunity for our May and August graduates to gather and to celebrate together their achievements, even though degrees will have been conferred and diplomas will have been received. We will have the baccalaureate mass during the October celebrations, and our Commencement Speaker, Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, will also be joining us at that time.
Third, there will be a number of virtual opportunities to mark the achievements of our May graduates during May. We will be announcing awards for graduates, posting speeches by the president, the provost, the valedictorian, and the faculty speaker elected by the student body. We will also be sharing graduating student plans, which are typically shared at the Honors Convocation, in document form. Finally, some departments, the business college, and the school of ministry, will be holding virtual opportunities for graduating students and their families to gather.
We thought it important both to mark the actual May date of graduation with these virtual opportunities, as well as to provide an opportunity for us to be physically present to each other in October.