After much deliberation, Wagner College has decided to hold in-person, on-campus commencement exercises this May for both the Class of 2021 (Thursday, May 27) and the Class of 2020 (Saturday, May 22) — but due to New York State event-size restrictions, no guests (including family members) will be allowed to attend.
The college will offer live webcasts of these programs for remote viewing and will post the videos on our website.
We believe that these plans will provide our graduates with the most meaningful commencement experience possible, given the public health circumstances and existing government restrictions.
All details are subject to change based on evolving conditions and future guidance from authorities.
CLASS OF 2021
Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 will be held on Thursday, May 27 on the Sutter Oval. This is an adjustment of one day from the originally scheduled commencement date of Friday, May 28. In the case of inclement weather on the 27th, we plan to hold the ceremony on the 28th.
At present, because of event-size restrictions, we expect to hold multiple ceremonies. Program times and details will be communicated in the coming weeks.
CLASS OF 2020
Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will be held on Saturday, May 22 on the Sutter Oval. We ask that members of the Class of 2020 complete this online survey no later than Friday, April 23 to provide the information we need to complete our plans.
In a letter below, Provost Jeffrey Kraus provides a detailed explanation of the college's reasoning behind these commencement scheduling decisions.
A LETTER FROM PROVOST JEFFREY KRAUS
Dear Class of 2020,
We plan to hold Commencement for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, May 22, rather than delaying it until fall 2021 as planned earlier. As current state regulations limit the number of individuals who can attend the event, only graduates will be able to attend the ceremony.
Please know that this decision was not made lightly. We have been monitoring data, speaking with institutions that are similar in size and reviewing scenarios for logistically managing Commencement in ways that will ensure the safety of all involved. Our main goal has always been to provide you with an in-person experience that offers, to the greatest extent possible, a Commencement that will reflect your achievement. You deserve that.
We are hopeful that, with continued decreases in viral positivity and hospitalization rates, New York State will ease restrictions on academic gatherings. Current restrictions limit events to only 150 individuals indoors and 200 individuals outdoors, with social distancing included. Commencement has an average attendance of 3,000.
Stadium spaces and other options can still only support the total number allowed to gather, and a drive-through/drive-in Commencement would not provide you with the recognition you deserve as a Wagner College graduate. The orchestration of such a ceremony would also require that it be held outside of campus. Again, our goal is to provide you with the opportunity to process and walk across the dais as you would have done last year. At this point, such an opportunity will also have to be coordinated into multiple smaller ceremonies - again based on the number allowed to gather. We are in the process of confirming these details to share with you at a later date.
We also recognize that plans can change at any point in time between now and May. We are setting a course of action at this moment that we believe provides the safest scenario for you, based on the data we have. We felt it was important to be straightforward with the challenges we are facing than to over-promise what we may be to deliver.
Should restrictions ease, we can pivot to add elements (and guests) to our planning more smoothly than if we had to minimize plans at the last minute. Our communications are designed to keep you in the loop and to be transparent about where Commencement stands at different stages between now and May. We did not want to postpone your in-person ceremony again and we certainly did not want to cancel it outright. We ask for your patience and understanding as we try to keep you informed along the way.
Here is what we know at this time:
- Due to state restrictions on large gatherings, we cannot welcome guests other than degree recipients on campus. We will provide families with a virtual option.
- Due to the number of individuals allowed to gather in one location, we anticipate having to coordinate multiple ceremonies to accommodate the entire class. We are working that schedule out now.
- Those individuals who were undergraduates in 2020 and are now graduate candidates in 2021 may choose to attend one or both celebrations on their scheduled dates.
- Out of an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety and well-being, those participating in the ceremony will need to be tested prior to the ceremony itself. Testing procedures are still being finalized and we will communicate those at a later date.
- Wagner is sadly unable to offer residence halls as a housing option upon your return to Staten Island. We will be working with our hotel partners to offer discounted rooms
- We ask that members of the Class of 2020 complete this online survey no later than April 23 to let us know whether you plan to attend.
- Regalia for graduates will be available via the Wagner Bookstore beginning in April. You will be asked for height, weight, and degree.
- We will continue to monitor conditions impacting our campus and we will continue to provide updated information as often as we can. Please check our Commencement website for the latest information.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we move forward in planning for a safe celebration of your achievements.
Jeffrey Kraus, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs