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Commencement

Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Commencements — An Announcement from President Clark

President Clark speaking at 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremony

At the beginning of the global pandemic a year ago, I promised the Class of 2020 that BSU would find a way to host an in-person commencement ceremony so that each student who chooses to would be able to walk across the commencement stage — a promise that I now extend to the Class of 2021. That walk across the stage symbolizes years of hard work, resilience and sacrifice as well as the possibility of a brighter future with a hard-earned college degree in hand. Many students carry the hopes and dreams of their families as they walk across the stage. Having spoken with so many students over these very difficult months, we know how important that walk is for our deserving graduates.

Today, we are fulfilling our promise to the Class of 2020 and to the Class of 2021 by announcing ceremonies that will accommodate every student who wishes to participate at commencement ceremonies in-person (and for those who want to participate remotely) as well as their families.

Since state public health guidelines currently limit indoor and outdoor gatherings — with one important exception — and with an eye toward the timing of the vaccination schedule for Massachusetts, we have chosen a place and a date to maximize the safety of our graduates and their families. We rejected the idea of having ceremonies here at BSU for an important reason: physical campus constraints and strict compliance with commencement guidelines recently issued by the state would frankly not allow any family members to attend based on our planning models. That was not okay with us or with you.

With nearly 5,000 2020 and 2021 graduates eligible to walk across the BSU commencement stage, and with thousands of family members eager to cheer them on, only one spectacular venue in Massachusetts would safely accommodate our large BSU family — Gillette Stadium.

BSU Announces Surprise Commencement Location
Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m.
Graduate Class of 2020 and 2021 (Masters/CAGS/EdS Degree Ceremony)

Friday, July 30, 6 p.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2020

Saturday, July 31, 9 a.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2021
Louis M. Ricciardi College of Business, College of Education and Health Sciences, Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics

Saturday, July 31, 4 p.m.
Undergraduate Class of 2021
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The state has authorized the stadium to safely host thousands of people — appropriately distanced from one another in the stands — while hundreds of our students will be safely seated on the field at Gillette. With four ceremonies planned over three days, we will be able to keep our graduates and their families safe while still being able to celebrate the triumphs of our students as they walk across the stage one at a time.

We are grateful for the partnership of our friends at Gillette in helping us to organize what is sure to be four spectacular ceremonies for our two graduating classes who have endured such profound hardships over the past year. We are also pleased that the stadium was available to us for several days in a row to enable us to hold commencement ceremonies for our undergraduate and graduate classes of 2020 and 2021 between July 29-July 31.

While we plan the ceremonies in the days and weeks ahead, the BSU campus will also be fully decorated in May, June and July in honor of our graduating students who might also wish to take photos on campus prior to commencement. If you let me know in advance, I would be happy to join you for graduation photos in front of Boyden Hall. Please email officeofthepresident@bridgew.edu to arrange a day and time. Honestly, it is my favorite thing to do!

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, and I will see you at Gillette!