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2020 Commencement Celebration Communications


September 2, 2021 


Dartmouth Class of 2020 Celebration 

Friday, August 5 
Sunday, August 7, 2022 


We are thrilled to welcome you and your families back to Hanover to honor your class with an in-person Commencement in 2022.   

Festivities will include a special ceremony on Saturday afternoon, August 6, as well as opportunities to socialize with classmates, loved ones, and members of the Dartmouth community throughout the weekend.   

On campus and local accommodation information and full program details will be posted on the 2020 Celebration website closer to the event date.   


Thanks to all who offered ideas and support to select a date and begin planning this event.   

We still need your help to finalize the program and make this a special ceremony that reflects your class. If you are interested in participating on the Class of 2020 Celebration Planning Committee, please email Briana Stein in Alumni Relations at briana.stein@dartmouth.edu.   


Please let your family and friends know that everyone is invited to this special celebration. We’ll need your help getting the message out to ensure that they can make plans to attend.   

We will post updates on the website as we have additional updates or information to share.   

We look forward to seeing you and your families and supporters next year as we honor the awesome Class of 2020! 


JUNE 23, 2021

Dear Class of 2020:
As summer settles in, we continue to think of all of you and your families as we plan your promised on-campus commencement celebration.

Thank you for working with us to shape a commencement celebration. Know that planning this for you, your families, and loved ones continues to be an important focus for Alumni Relations alongside our many campus partners. To those of you who have been collaborating with our team on this work—thank you! Your class made it clear from Day 1 that you want to be involved in the decisions on timing, content, and location, and structure a program based on what is important to your classmates. We have a shared goal of celebrating your achievements in an accessible way allowing for as many ’20s to participate as possible. We appreciate your perspective, and I’m proud of the progress we have made together.

Your voice is important. The 2020 Planning Committee consists of over 40 of your classmates who raised their hands after an open call for volunteers this winter. We are working to find a time for the event and need to hear from you, not only about when it makes sense to hold the celebration, but also about which factors are most important and prioritized for you when making this decision. Is it to have available housing for classmates and/or your loved ones? Is it to choose a time when the largest number of classmates can return? Please participate in the survey coming your way next month. Your opinion matters and will help shape the celebration.

When will we know? Based on your feedback and our work with campus partners, we expect to be able to announce the celebration date by the end of this summer. Some people have asked, “why not just assign a date and move forward?”  We are listening and heard you, loud and clear, that the input of your classmates—from surveying your class to being part of the date selection--is important to you and we are honoring that.

Tell your loved ones and check the website for updates. Many of your families and communities also hope to celebrate this milestone with you. Please keep them up to date as information becomes available because some may feel out of the loop. We will reach out to family members for whom we have contact information, but we need your help getting the message to your loved ones to ensure that they know what’s going on and can plan accordingly. The 2020 Commencement Event website will be the hub for information updates about this event. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back to Hanover and celebrating with you.

Questions? If you have any questions about planning for the ’20 celebration in the meantime, please reach out to our Alumni Relations team. If you have questions about other 2020 class activities or would like to volunteer to help, please reach out to 2020 Class Executive Committee.

Cheryl Bascomb ’82, P’12
Vice President for Alumni Relations


FEBRUARY 2, 2021

To the members of the great Dartmouth Class of 2020,

After much deliberation and in light of the persistence with which the pandemic has raged on around the world and the slower-than-anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, we’ve come to the extraordinarily difficult decision that we will not be able to welcome you back to campus for a commencement celebration this June, as we had originally hoped. 

We share your deep disappointment. Every one of you has earned the chance to celebrate your graduation with one another in the place that you love, here on the Hanover plain. Rest assured, that chance will come, just later than we’d planned.

In the months ahead, our Alumni Relations team will be reaching out to you to plan a future celebration that not only honors your outstanding achievements, but is reflective of how you wish it to be. As that work gets underway, our overarching goal will be to identify a date that maximizes the number of you who are able to attend. At the same time, we are committed to meeting the single most important criterion expressed by you and your classmates when surveyed last spring: that we are able to provide ample and affordable on-campus housing to coincide with the celebration.

We hope and expect that reuniting as a class, whenever it may be, will take on extra special meaning to all of you; we know it will for us.

Thank you for your understanding and for the extraordinary sacrifices you’ve made to keep our community safe under these unprecedented circumstances. We look forward to the day when we can welcome you back to Dartmouth to celebrate your academic accomplishments in person with you.


Philip J. Hanlon '77

Cheryl Bascomb '82
VP, Alumni Relations


APRIL 9, 2020

To the Dartmouth community,

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce the need to postpone Dartmouth's Commencement exercises, including graduate and professional school Investiture ceremonies, for the Class of 2020. I had been holding out hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would pass in time for us to proceed with commencement and reunions as planned in June. But it is now clear that the risk of hosting events of this magnitude in mid-June, with students, families, alumni, and friends from all over the world gathering on the Green in such close proximity, is simply too great a risk to take.

Commencement holds great joy and deep meaning to every member of the Dartmouth community, but especially to our seniors and the coupled 50-year reunion class. It is the culmination of our graduating students' lifetimes of focused study—a day to celebrate their academic achievements, the special bonds they've forged during their time at Dartmouth, and the start of what are sure to be extraordinary lives of purpose. And every year, without fail, I am moved when I see the graduating class and the 50th reunion class seated together on the Green at commencement, signifying the strength of the Dartmouth fellowship, the role that our past plays in our present.

Please know that I did not come to this decision lightly. The decision was made in consultation with Dartmouth's COVID-19 Task Force, state and local officials, and other widely respected public health professionals, who were informed not just by their own experience but also by models of the anticipated spread of COVID-19 to project future levels of public health risk.

To the Class of 2020, make no mistake: You will have your day. And that day will be filled with all the pomp and circumstance you so rightly deserve. Vice President of Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb has been working diligently with student representatives and colleagues across campus to look at alternative dates for the Class of 2020's commencement. They recommend that we reschedule the ceremony for June 2021. We will be consulting with members of the senior class to determine the ideal date and program. We expect to lock in the specific date by the end of next month, so that students and families can have a full year to plan and make the necessary travel arrangements. Graduate and professional school investiture ceremonies will also be rescheduled for appropriate dates to be determined by the school deans.

Importantly, the postponement of our commencement and investiture ceremonies will in no way delay the conferring of earned degrees in June for our graduates. On June 14 of this year, we will host a virtual event to mark the awarding of both undergraduate and advanced degrees. Details on that special online gathering will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Class of 2020, I'm so sorry to have to delay our in-person graduation celebration, but I look forward to the day when we can gather together, again, in good health and good spirits to honor your accomplishments with your family, friends, and the 50-year reunion Class of 1970 by your sides. Your commencement will take on extra-special meaning for all of us next year.

Philip J. Hanlon '77