Pomona College moves 2020 commencement to the fall

Two male students embrace to the right of the image, surrounded by other students in a dining hall.
Students embrace in Frary after the news broke that the 5Cs are moving classes online for the rest of the semester. (Amy Best • The Student Life)

Pomona College is postponing its commencement, originally scheduled for May 17, to the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After speaking with students, faculty and staff, and in recognition of the deep significance of this ritual for our community, we are determined to move forward with plans to hold an in-person Commencement ceremony in the fall,” President G. Gabrielle Starr and Vice Presidents Avis Hinkson and Robert Gaines said in an email to students Monday.

“We are searching for the most feasible weekend for that time, and will update the community with a date at least three months in advance,” they said.

Degrees for seniors will be conferred May 21. The school said it would provide more details in the coming weeks. It will also award the Wig Awards at the end of the semester, the college’s student-nominated prize for faculty.

Historian and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr. and human rights lawyer Martina Vandenberg PO ’90 were set to deliver speeches at the ceremony.

Pomona was the last of the 5Cs to announce its updated commencement plans, following Scripps College’s announcement shortly earlier Monday afternoon. 

Online classes began Monday across all 5Cs, as the colleges’ extended two-week spring break ended. Pomona’s announcement comes the day after President Donald Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines until April 30.

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

This article was last updated March 30, 2020 at 3:50 p.m.

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