We announced earlier this spring that Gallaudet University would not host its traditional Commencement on Friday, May 15. This was disheartening news for our graduating students, their families and friends, and the university community, but, needless to say, everyone understood why Commencement could not take place.

The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs engaged with members of the graduating Class of 2020 and asked how we could best celebrate their accomplishments. Almost unanimously, our graduates said that they did not want a virtual Commencement ceremony. We agree; our Bison graduates deserve a Commencement ceremony where they, their families, and their friends can celebrate their academic successes. Our administrators, faculty, staff, and the larger Gallaudet community also want to celebrate with them! We are committed to planning an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2020 to take place in May 2021. Details will follow.

Our graduates have worked hard to get to where they are now, and are looking forward to beginning a new chapter in their lives. To recognize their accomplishments, we will host a Conferring of Degrees video ceremony on Friday, May 15 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Board of Trustees Chair Seth Bravin; Provost Carol J. Erting; College of Arts and Sciences Dean Genie Gertz; School of Education, Business, and Human Services Dean Khadijat Rashid; and Graduate School and Continuing Studies Dean Gaurav Mathur; and I will participate in this ceremony. We invite graduating students, families, and friends to view the Conferring of Degrees video ceremony at and on the Gallaudet Facebook page.

We also have created a website where faculty, staff, families, and friends can post congratulatory messages for our graduating students. This site,, is a place for us to support and celebrate our graduates. Tag @gallaudetu and use the hashtag #BisonGrads2020 to have your message featured!

Last but not least, we recognize that a virtual celebration can not possibly replace the pomp and circumstance of Commencement. We want to recognize how hard our students have worked up to this moment, and their resilience as they endured challenges brought on by the pandemic. Gallaudet is very proud of our graduating students and their accomplishments.

Go Bison! #GallaudetStrong


Roberta J. Cordano