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Dartmouth postpones graduation ceremony citing coronavirus concerns

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/9/2020 4:37:17 PM
Modified: 4/9/2020 5:03:13 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College is postponing its graduation ceremonies this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic and is telling seniors it may hold a formal ceremony in June 2021.

“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,” Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said in an email to the college community on Thursday afternoon.

The commencement exercises, which include graduate and professional school ceremonies, had been planned for June 14 and by tradition also include the 50th reunion class. No speaker had been publicly announced.

Hanlon in his email said students will still formally graduate if they earned a degree, and that Dartmouth will host a “virtual event to mark the awarding of both undergraduate and advanced degrees” on June 14.

Hanlon said college alumni officials and student representatives have been talking about an alternative date for a formal graduation ceremony, and they have recommended that it be held at the college in 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,” Hanlon said.

Dartmouth last month effectively closed campus to students because of the outbreak and is having them take spring term classes online.

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