Office of the President

April 14, 2020 – Chico State to Hold Online Commencement for 2020 Graduates

To: Campus Community
From: President Gayle Hutchinson

As the end of the semester draws nearer, my thoughts have been with our students, especially our 2020 graduates, and how we will celebrate their amazing journeys and academic achievements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and concern for public health. After much consideration, we have decided to hold a virtual, online commencement on May 15 to confer earned degrees and provide a timely celebration at the end of the semester.

Commencement has always been and will always be the culmination and most meaningful opportunity for graduates to celebrate their success with loved ones. It is also one of the happiest times for faculty and staff. We have worked alongside our graduates and it is immensely rewarding to watch them achieve their goals, which is why this decision to have a virtual commencement has been one of the most difficult decisions to make.

I want our undergraduate and graduate students to know that we are excited to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. We might not match that in-person experience with a virtual commencement, but we can come together online to award degrees so that everyone will graduate as expected. Graduates will be able to hear their names called, speeches will be delivered, and the Class of 2020 will share thoughts through individual webpages and photos. Families and friends near and far will be able to share in the ceremony by viewing at home.

The format will be different, but our enthusiasm for celebration and recognition has never been greater. In fact, I am greatly inspired by student resilience and perseverance in light of the many challenges our campus has faced.

The Class of 2020 will hold a unique place in the history of the University. This is the first time in 130 years that a commencement ceremony has been postponed and held virtually. For those who have their hearts set on walking the stage in a live commencement, we invite you to join the Class of 2021 in ceremonies in May of next year. More information will be forthcoming. There will be no rescheduled, in-person commencement in 2020 given the uncertainly of the evolving COIVD-19 situation.

Our registered 2020 graduates will receive instructions for participating in the May 15 virtual graduation. Eligible students may register here. I encourage the campus community to join in the celebration, much as they would in ceremonies we typically hold each year. I am hopeful that faculty, staff, and students will celebrate by reaching out to graduates to offer congratulations online. Together, we will celebrate and honor Chico State undergraduate and graduate students as they wholeheartedly deserve in these extraordinarily difficult times.

Let’s commit to creating a memorable experience filled with joy, pride, and promise for the Class of 2020. While it won’t have the pomp and circumstance of an in-person commencement, it will still include the Provost’s welcome, parting words of wisdom from faculty and students, the President’s remarks and conferral of degrees, along with a “procession” of images and the reading of graduates’ names.

I am eager to celebrate our graduating students and to recognize their accomplishments and acknowledge the sacrifices so many have made to ensure the well-being of our community. We are family and this is the Wildcat way.