Dear Niagara University Class of 2020,
As we monitor the ever-changing pandemic news in New York State and beyond, along with the phased reopening of Western New York, we have continued to adjust and finalize the plans for the university’s commencement ceremonies.
Based on the state’s guidance for commencement ceremonies, the restrictions in place for international travel (including the extension of the Canadian border restrictions), the recent executive order on travel to and from other states, and the phased-in guidance of Phase 4 of the Western New York opening, it is clear that an in-person graduation will not be possible. We have, therefore, modified a series of celebratory events for commencement weekend and will host virtual graduation ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate students as follows:
- Virtual Graduate Commencement Ceremony – Friday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m.
- Virtual Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony – Sunday, July 26 at 10 a.m.
We look forward to sharing the details of the live streaming of these two ceremonies with you next week. In addition, we will send each graduating student a ‘graduation package’ that includes the commencement program, an NU mask (which we ordered for you), and an alumni gift.
In addition to the virtual commencement ceremony, please make plans to participate in these other commencement activities that mark the weekend:
- Senior weekend activities – In conjunction with the virtual ceremony, your senior delegation has been working very hard to plan live events for commencement weekend to help you celebrate with your classmates. Please check out the Senior Celebration Package available through Campus Activities.
- Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Saturday, July 25 at 9 a.m. highlighting the accomplishments of the nursing students.
- Regalia photos – I know that photos are important memories for you and your family. I invite you to come to campus over the next few weeks to take individual photos. In addition, I, along with other administrators and deans, will make ourselves available to take commencement pictures with you. We will be available from noon-2 p.m. on either Friday, July 24 or Saturday July 25. We will follow the guidance for masks, social distancing and other safety protocols.
- The university’s Alumni Weekend is June 4-6, 2021. I will sponsor and plan a special event during the weekend exclusively for the Class of 2020. We will share this information with you in the coming months and I hope to have a chance to see you there and connect with the class.
A Niagara commencement is an appropriate recognition of the high honor of a university degree, and the “pomp and circumstance” of the ceremony not only represents the university’s traditions, it is an appropriate acknowledgement of your success with friends, family, faculty and all those who supported you during your studies.
You know that it has been our desire to host an in-person commencement ceremony – and over the past couple of months (and weeks specifically) we exhausted a number of innovative options to do so. While we understand and share your disappointment, we are working with the senior delegation to create a commencement weekend that is fitting for the Class of 2020, and distinctly honors our graduate and undergraduate students in the long history of Niagara University.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we all navigate these challenging times. I look forward to honoring the Class of 2020 during commencement weekend.
With every good wish,
James J. Maher, C.M.
More information will be made posted as details become available.
**Schedule is subject to change based on guidance from elected officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.**