Emory announces plans for modified in-person Commencement in May 2021

Emory Report | Nov. 20, 2020

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The following message was sent to the Emory community on Nov. 20, 2020, by President Gregory L. Fenves and Interim Provost Jan Love:


Dear Emory community,

There is no event or experience more representative of excellence and achievement at Emory — or that is cherished more by us as president and provost — than Commencement, where we celebrate the successes of our graduating students. Recognizing the important milestone that Commencement offers, we are pleased to share that we are moving forward with plans to hold a modified in-person ceremony in May 2021. 

As with so many aspects of our lives today, we will need to be creative in adapting traditional elements of our ceremonies while incorporating COVID-19 health and safety protocols. For this reason, we have contracted to host enhanced diploma ceremonies at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), located a short drive from campus in the heart of downtown Atlanta.

Although we are still confirming details, and we are cognizant that our plans will need to align with the Georgia and Atlanta event guidelines in place next May, we did want to provide you with preliminary information so you can plan around these dates:

  • We anticipate graduate and professional school diploma ceremonies will take place Friday, May 14, with all undergraduate ceremonies, including Oxford College, scheduled for Saturday, May 15.
  • Each graduating student will be invited to bring up to two guests; additional family and friends may share in the activities via live (and on-demand replay) webcasts of the ceremonies. We will also find ways to recognize and honor those students who cannot attend in person.
  • Plans are also being developed to celebrate the Class of 2020 in person on May 16, for those able to return or those desiring to attend virtually from their locations around the world. The Class of 2020 graduates will also be invited to bring up to two guests as we recognize their academic accomplishments.

Protecting the health and safety of our community remains paramount. Holding our Commencement ceremonies at the GWCC provides us with the space we need for our graduates and guests while adhering to our campus protocols — including distancing, face coverings, and hygiene measures — as well as adhering to the safety standards required by the GWCC.

Since the pandemic is still evolving, our Commencement plans may need to be adjusted as planning progresses. A complete schedule of events will be available as details are confirmed, and any new developments will be promptly communicated.

As we approach the close of our fall semester, we hope that you will join us in looking forward, anticipating the opportunity to come together in celebration of the remarkable, resilient graduates of Emory University.


Sincerely, 

Gregory L. Fenves
President 

Jan Love
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs