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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

April 28: Virtual Commencement - Let's celebrate together on May 23

April 28, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

You are working tremendously hard toward achieving your SUNY Potsdam degree, especially under the most challenging circumstances, and we are so proud of you.

Virtual ceremony

While the public health pandemic response has prevented us from hosting a traditional on-campus ceremony on May 23, we want you to know that SUNY Potsdam will not allow this day to go by without a celebration. Our SUNY Potsdam Commencement Committee, in consultation with your Student Government Association President Kalis Nunes ’20, is pleased to announce that a virtual ceremony will be held in your honor.

On Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m., we invite you and your loved ones to join us for a virtual celebration. This ceremony will include speakers, musical guests and a public announcement of your achievements. We encourage you to watch your home mailing address for a special package from the College, and notes from the campus community to our graduates in the meantime as well.

Be recognized – your photos/notes needed!

All graduates are invited to participate in the virtual ceremony and have your name read as you “virtually” cross the stage Please take a moment to fill out the participant form and include an updated photo (especially in your graduation regalia, if you have it) so that we can display your information. If you would prefer that we use the photo you have on your Merit page, you can indicate that on the form.


You may want to order regalia for photos, videos, social media and private celebrations. If you would like to order a cap, gown, tassel, honor cords, diploma frames, etc., you can place your order online. Orders must be placed by May 1 to have delivery by the week of May 11.

Future considerations

Looking ahead, it is still unclear if or when we will be able to host a traditional ceremony on campus this year, given all the restrictions we must adhere to. Our typical Commencement ceremonies typically attract up to 5,000 people, including our graduates, faculty and staff, plus hundreds of family members and friends. Please know that while we are still planning an in-person ceremony at a later date, we will not do so until it is safe.

Bringing together that many people from across the country in one location is just not safe at this time—and it is not yet clear when it will be. Depending on the timing, hosting a smaller in-person ceremony in the short-term wouldn’t be fair to those graduates who may be unable travel back, due to health concerns, financial considerations or travel restrictions, either. Please know that we are looking very closely at all options as we plan for the possibilities.

If it is easier for your planning purposes, be aware that no matter what, all students who were planning to walk this year will be eligible to walk at the 2021 Commencement Ceremony as well.

Please know how incredibly proud we are of each and every one of you! We look forward to honoring you, the SUNY Potsdam Class of 2020, now and in the future.


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.

SUNY Potsdam