Dear Graduating Seniors in the College:
Yesterday, the University of Chicago provided Deans and Officers with an update on its plans for the 534th Convocation, the ceremony during which degrees are officially conferred to graduates. I write to relay the information relevant to graduating seniors in the College.
As previously announced, the 534th Convocation ceremony will be held virtually. A broadcast of this event will take place at 4 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, June 9.
The College will follow the University’s Convocation ceremony with a virtual presentation of its Class Day ceremony, a celebration of the Class of 2021 featuring student speakers, and the recognition of this year’s Howell Murray award winners.
Regarding the College’s diploma ceremonies, we believe that it will be possible to gather in person, in compliance with required COVID-19 health and safety mitigations. College diploma ceremonies will take place over the course of several days, following the broadcast of the main convocation ceremony and the College’s Class Day event. The University is working in collaboration with the epidemiology team at University of Chicago Medicine and the Chicago Department of Public Health to develop a plan for these ceremonies based on updated guidance on outdoor gatherings. We anticipate that we will be able to finalize the schedule of College diploma ceremonies by mid-April.
In order to monitor the size of each ceremony and to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements, ceremonies are for graduates and participating faculty and staff only. Diploma ceremonies will be held in circumscribed venues, and only students and staff will be permitted to be on the fields or in the seating areas when diplomas are awarded.
Based on current health and safety guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health, the University believes that it will not be feasible or practicable to welcome guests from outside the University community at the in-person diploma ceremonies. While absolutely necessary for public health and safety considerations, I find this to be deeply regrettable, and I understand the frustration and disappointment this will cause for the parents, relatives, and friends of our graduating seniors.
I look forward to providing additional information about Convocation Weekend soon. In the meantime, the University’s Convocation website offers a central source of information.
The achievements of our seniors are worthy of significant celebration, as scholars of the College and individuals who have shown great resilience and character during these unprecedented times of the pandemic. We will do everything possible to meaningfully honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2021.
My best wishes for an intellectually stimulating and enjoyable final Spring Quarter in the College.
John W. Boyer
Dean of the College
The University of Chicago