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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

April 29: Virtual Commencement - Let's celebrate together on May 23

Dear colleagues,

While the public health pandemic response has prevented us from hosting a traditional on-campus Commencement 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 Student Government Association President Kalis Nunes ’20, is pleased to announce that a virtual ceremony will be held in honor of the Class of 2020.

On Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m., we invite all faculty and staff to join us for a virtual celebration. This ceremony will include speakers, musical guests and a public announcement of each graduate’s achievements. A link to the livestreamed event will be available on our social media channels, and at

I know that Commencement is a day that many of you look forward to in many capacities, whether you volunteer or process in your regalia. The chance to congratulate our graduates and meet their families and friends is the highlight of the academic year. While an online gathering is no substitution, we ask that you please help us make this day a success by joining to comment and honor our students as they complete their degrees.

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.

No matter what, all students who were planning to walk this year will be eligible to walk at the 2021 Commencement Ceremony as well.

Thank you for your care and concern for our students. I look forward to honoring the SUNY Potsdam Class of 2020 along with you, now and in the future.


Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.

SUNY Potsdam