Spring 2020 graduation ceremony rescheduled

Stetson University College of Law’s May 2020 commencement ceremony has been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, due to COVID-19.  

“None of us could have foreseen how drastically the world would be changed come spring 2020. Graduation is incredibly important to all of us, and we do not take it lightly. We have agonized over the right remedy,” said Dean Michèle Alexandre. 

College of Law officials considered all constituents and consulted multiple times with graduating students, including circulating two surveys to gather as much feedback as possible about their wishes. 

Over 270 surveys were emailed to students, with 173 total votes received. The results were:

  • Virtual Graduation on May 16: 19.7% (34 votes)
  • Live Graduation at Future Date: 80.3% (139 votes)

Based on that, officials determined that the traditional face-to-face graduation ceremony will take place in December, provided health guidelines at that time permit. The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, Dec. 17 – Graduation Brunch
  • Friday, Dec. 18 – Honors and Awards Celebration
  • Saturday, Dec. 19 – Graduation Ceremony

The graduating classes included in the events will be December 2019, May/August 2020, and December 2020. Given the special circumstances, the December 2020 finishers will have the unique opportunity to walk in and participate in this graduation ceremony. 

The December 2020 Honors and Awards and Graduation ceremonies will replicate exactly the same tradition typically delivered each spring, including recognitions, speeches, photography, etc. As a special note, both President Wendy Libby and President Chris Roellke will attend the graduation ceremony on Dec. 19, 2020.

Information about regalia and cords will be provided to students closer to the December graduation date.

As for the original May 16 date, even though students and their families cannot gather at the Gulfport campus as planned, the day will not go unrecognized. A virtual Graduation Celebration, featuring a special website honoring students and their accomplishments, will launch on May 16 (watch stetson.edu/law that day for details). It will feature video messages, photographs of the students, and a few other personalized surprises for them.

Hard copies of the formal Graduation and Honors and Awards brochures, as well as Honors and Awards plaques, will be mailed to students in June.

Considering the ongoing uncertainty regarding the current COVID-19 situation, college officials caution that any plans are dependent on guidance from state and local government and recommendations and standards from the CDC and the Florida Department of Health and could be subject to change.