Pitzer College delays commencement

The outside of Pitzer College's dining hall surrounded by cacti.
Pitzer College announced it’s delaying its commencement (Stella Favaro • The Student Life)

Pitzer College is delaying its 2020 commencement ceremony, Pitzer President Melvin Oliver announced in an email to students March 27. 

“In light of the need for social distancing and the risks associated with large gatherings like commencement, postponement is a necessary preventative action,” Oliver said.

Oliver emphasized that the college will hold an in-person ceremony, potentially in the fall semester if it is safe to do so, and will give seniors and their families advance notice to plan travel back to campus.

“To the class of 2020, I know this is incredibly disheartening news on top of the disruption to your students, separation from your friend and the pressure of adjusting to a new learning environment,” he said. “I am proud of the maturity and spirit of cooperation that you are showing.”

“I know that you will persevere and I look forward to the day when we can gather together to celebrate the transition of your Pitzer journey and the beginning of the next stages of your remarkable lives,” Oliver added.

The announcement follows CMC’s announcement Friday that it would also be delaying commencement, rather than replacing it with an online ceremony, as schools across the country have recently announced.

Pitzer Senate President Clint Isom PZ ’20 said he was “heartbroken” he wouldn’t walk with his classmates this spring, but that he supports the decision to postpone the ceremony.

“Given the current circumstances I support Pitzer’s decision because the safety and well being of our community comes first,” Isom told TSL via message.

Isom said he plans to propose a fund for the senior class that would partially pay for a future ceremony, events, travel and other expenses that the senior class may face. 

Commencement was originally scheduled for May 16. A commencement speaker had not yet been announced.

Pitzer, along with the other four undergraduate Claremont Colleges, announced that they were moving all classes online March 12. Scripps College, Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College have not yet announced their updated commencement plans.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

This story was last updated March 27, 2020 at 6:24 p.m.

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