Commencement to be an online event

In an email to the Rensselaer community on Wednesday afternoon, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced that this spring’s Commencement, planned for May 23, will take place in an online ceremony, adding that there will be an in-person celebration “when the public health situation allows us to do so.”

A linked FAQ page explains that the decision to move Commencement online was due to the social distancing RPI enacted in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The FAQ page adds that the Institute is “not having any events on campus until it is deemed safe to do so,” calling the choice to modify Commencement “difficult,” but “the right decision.”

The FAQ page also announced the cancellation of Commencement-related events such as Colloquy, ROTC commissioning, and other school ceremonies.

Details about the online ceremony, the anticipated in-person event, and how diplomas will be distributed will be found on the Commencement website, with information about diplomas being announced “in the coming weeks.”

Other colleges have also delayed or canceled their in-person graduation ceremonies, including Cornell, who delayed their ceremony to an unspecified time, and Harvard, who will also host an online commencement with a physical celebration later.

According to RPI’s academic calendar, summer classes, including Arch courses, are still planned to start on May 26, three days after the originally planned Commencement's date.