Pomona schedules virtual class of 2020 commencement for December

A group of students dressed in black graduation gowns sit under a canopy of white and blue streamers.
The Pomona College class of 2020 commencement ceremony will take place virtually in mid-December. (Courtesy: Pomona College)

Pomona College class of 2020 will reunite for their postponed commencement ceremony this December — that is, from the comfort of their living rooms.

A virtual ceremony will take place Dec. 19, 2020, a departure from earlier plans by the college to hold an in-person ceremony in fall 2020, Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr ASPC president Miguel A. Delgado-Garcia PO ’20 and senior class president Khadijah Thibodeaux PO ’20 announced in an email to students and the class of 2020 Thursday. 

When 5C students were sent home halfway through the spring semester, Pomona announced it would attempt to hold an in-person commencement ceremony the following semester.

“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 said in an email to students March 30.

But now — with the undergraduate Claremont Colleges online for fall 2020 and pandemic restrictions in Los Angeles County — plans have changed. 

In addition to the online ceremony, the college is planning a “special in-person celebration for the class of 2020 at a future time when the campus is permitted to host large gatherings under public health guidance,” Starr, Delgado-Garcia and Thibodeaux said in the email. 

The commencement, originally scheduled for May 17, was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. and human rights lawyer Martina Vandenberg PO ’90 were chosen as commencement speakers this year. 

The email did not say whether the speakers would still speak at the rescheduled ceremony.

The college said it will update students with more information on the ceremony in the coming weeks. 

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

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