March 23, 2021
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
As we approach the remaining weeks of the semester, I write to share with you our plans for this year’s Commencement Ceremonies.
For the past few months, colleagues from across our campuses have been meeting to review a wide range of options about our approach to commencement this year. They’ve heard from students about the aspects of commencement and the graduation experience that are most meaningful to them.
With the most careful consideration, we have decided on an approach that will enable us to provide moments of celebration among graduating students and adhere to public health measures—keeping the overall density on campus low and the size of our gatherings small—in order to limit transmission of COVID-19.
First, we will hold a university-wide virtual Commencement Ceremony, when degrees will be conferred for the members of the Class of 2021, on Sunday, May 23, at 12:00 PM ET.
Second, following our Commencement Ceremony, schools and programs will host individual virtual ceremonies that will recognize each graduating student by name. Additionally, school tropaias, awards ceremonies, and other events will occur virtually in the days leading up to commencement. Members of our community, families, and friends will be able to view virtual ceremonies online.
Third, our campuses are working to develop small-scale, in-person opportunities on campus. Plans for these activities are still in development and are contingent on public health conditions and review by the D.C. Government. In-person activities will be for graduating students only. The Main Campus, Law Center, and School of Medicine will be sharing guidance with their graduating students on specific plans for their campuses.
Additional commencement related activities are posted on our commencement website. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) will be hosting separate commencement activities and providing information directly to our GU-Q community on their plans.
I recognize that this is not the commencement experience that our students envisioned when they first arrived at Georgetown. I share your disappointment in not being able to gather in person and celebrate our students’ accomplishments alongside family and friends.
As we look ahead to next year, we would like to invite the members of the Class of 2021, as well as the Class of 2020, to return for in-person celebrations in 2022. We hope these future gatherings can be a time when our graduates can reconnect and make new memories with the friends and peers who shaped their Georgetown experience.
This is a very special time for our University, when we mark the achievements of our graduating class and honor the role they played in bringing out the very best in our community. This year’s class—the Class of 2021—has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, care, and creativity as we have faced the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. I wish to offer each member of our graduating class my most sincere congratulations. What you have accomplished in reaching this milestone is extraordinary and we look forward to celebrating with you.
John J. DeGioia