Class of 2021 commencement will be held virtually on May 8.
Additional details to follow.
As we approach the final chapters of your time as students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I want to tell you how appreciative I am for all you have accomplished, with this last year being a true test of your strength and resiliency.
Traversing an academic year at an honors college in good times is tough in and of itself. Adding a pandemic to the equation has taken its toll on all of us. I am immensely proud of all of you for recognizing that and taking the time to lift one another up when it was needed the most. I thank you for your commitment to following campus COVID-19 protocols and practicing social distancing. Your diligence helped keep the community safe and the College open. I am also grateful for how you have focused a good deal of your time and resources to helping fellow Seahawks cope with life’s challenges beyond the classroom, personally and socially. You truly exemplify the St. Mary’s Way.
As you complete your final semester, I know you are looking ahead to commencement. It is one of our favorite times of the academic year, filled with traditions, pageantry and friendship. It also represents the final opportunity for the entire campus community to come together and celebrate the successes of each of you in our beautiful setting on the banks of our beloved river. The question becomes, how do we partake in this cherished tradition in the midst of a pandemic?
Our Commencement Committee researched and considered a number of scenarios, but repeatedly ran into obstacles such as a slow vaccine roll-out, new COVID variants and state guidelines prohibiting mass gatherings. These posed many health and safety concerns for our students, families, faculty and staff. Therefore, and with much regret, we find that we have no choice but to plan a virtual ceremony for your May 8 commencement.
I know this is extremely disappointing to you, your families and friends, and to all of the faculty and staff who have been with you throughout your tenure at St. Mary’s College. The Commencement Committee will work with the senior class executive board and a selection of other members of the senior class to assist with organizing your virtual ceremony to ensure it is thoughtful and meaningful. We will update the commencement web page as soon as those details become available.
On March 19 we will reach the much anticipated “50 Days” senior tradition. Dean of Students Derek Young and the senior class executive board are planning a virtual toast to celebrate this milestone and keep the tradition alive. Dean Young is also working with students and our alumni relations team about additional alternative activities to safely celebrate your final days as seniors. Look for updates in the coming weeks.
We are also working on ways to celebrate and acknowledge you during major in-person events on campus when we can again hold them, including Hawktoberfest 2021 and Alumni Weekend 2022. I promise, you will not be forgotten.
I thank you for everything you have done to stay safe and achieve so much with determination and grace. I am forever Seahawk Proud.
Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD