Message from Chancellor Guskiewicz on postponing Commencement

Spring Commencement and doctoral hooding have been postponed. Members of the Class of 2020 will be surveyed about alternative dates and other options.

A pile of tassels on the table.
(Johnny Andrews / UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

The overwhelming speed and highly viral nature in which the novel coronavirus has spread across the nation is forcing all universities to make difficult decisions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal and state agencies all estimate we will be in a state of social distancing and other mitigation strategies for at least the next few months.

We have had to confront the impact of this new reality on our spring commencement exercises. Today, in accordance with the latest public health guidelines regarding travel and interpersonal contact, I regret to inform you that we are postponing Commencement events, including the doctoral hooding ceremony on May 9 and the ceremony in Kenan Stadium on May 10. School and unit ceremonies will also be postponed.

I know that our undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students have looked forward to this day for a long time. Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work from not just students, but their families and other loved ones. As the parent of a graduating senior, this also impacts my family and me on a very personal level.

Already, you have experienced so many changes to your final semester: the cancellation of events, the shift to remote instruction and the loss of your last weeks on campus with your friends. However, protecting the health, safety and well-being of our campus community, the region, our state and the nation is our first priority.

I am committed to celebrating the accomplishments of our many talented students. In the coming days, I will send a survey to all members of the Class of 2020 to ask their opinions about alternative dates and other options. A link to the survey will be sent soon to all graduating students, and your opinions will help inform our decisions moving forward.

In the meantime, I hope that you all are taking every precaution to protect the health of yourself and those around you. These are unprecedented times, but I have faith that our community will persevere and emerge stronger than ever. I know this Carolina Class of 2020 is prepared to go out and change the world!


Kevin M. Guskiewicz