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News Stories

Six Regional Community Colleges Postpone Traditional May Commencement Ceremonies

Article by: Paula Sandy
The uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has led the region’s six community colleges to postpone their in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May, 2020. The news was previously announced by the presidents of Erie, Finger Lakes, Genesee, Jamestown, Monroe and Niagara community colleges to their campus communities over the past week.

Erie Community College
Erie Community College has cancelled its in-person ceremony scheduled for May 20 and is looking at options for a virtual ceremony to be held in its place that day. President Dr. Dan Hocoy noted that the college is also considering options to hold an in-person ceremony at a later date.

“It was a heartbreaking decision to cancel our in-person ceremony, as this ceremony is a true celebration of student accomplishment,” Dr. Hocoy said. “We are exploring every option to give the graduating class of 2020 its moment in the spotlight and expect to announce our plans in the next few weeks.”

Students who expect to complete their program requirements this Spring should visit the College’s graduation web page at https://www.ecc.edu/graduate/

Finger Lakes Community College
The traditional commencement ceremony at Finger Lakes Community College, originally scheduled for May 16, has been postponed. May 2020 graduates will receive their degrees, and transcripts will show a May 2020 graduation date.

Alternative plans for a celebration are under development and may include a ceremony at a later date, an online ceremony, or both. Commencement planners are gathering ideas from faculty, staff and students before developing options.

"We have every intention of celebrating your accomplishments," President Robert Nye told students in an email. "It's the highlight of our year."

Students who have registered to graduate can still get caps and gowns for free by placing an online order by April 15 with the bookstore.

Genesee Community College
GCC is actively planning to hold our Commencement ceremony virtually to provide the best possible balance of recognition and safety for all involved.  "Commencement is a very important part of our academic tradition.  We are working diligently to provide an uplifting experience to celebrate our students' academic achievements," said GCC President Dr. James Sunser. More details will be shared with students and families in the near future.

Jamestown Community College
Jamestown Community College has decided to postpone its May commencement exercises and will be exploring options.

“You students have worked extremely hard, with many of you overcoming significant challenges to obtain a college education,” said JCC President Dr. Daniel DeMarte. “The anticipation of walking across the stage at commencement to be recognized in front of your family and peers for your determination and tenacity is rightfully deserved. However, due to the severe national health crisis, we must postpone our traditional commencement ceremony in May. Our decision was not an easy one to make; it was based on ensuring your health as well as the health of your family and loved ones, and our extended community.”

Details regarding commencement plans will be shared with students as they become available over the next several weeks.

Monroe Community College
Monroe Community College will postpone its May commencement ceremony to early December, when a traditional, in-person celebration will be held. Students who fulfill program requirements and apply for graduation will become MCC graduates in May and receive their degrees and certificates in the mail during the summer. Approximately 2,000 students are expected to be in the class of 2020. 

Questions related to commencement may be sent to studentservices@monroecc.edu. Students with questions about their graduation status can contact graduation@monroecc.edu

“I share our students' disappointment over the change in plans,” said MCC Interim President Dr. Katherine Douglas. “I am committed to seeing our students experience the distinctive tradition of walking across the stage in December and celebrating with them this significant milestone in their lives.”

Niagara County Community College
Niagara County Community College (NCCC) will postpone its May 2020 Commencement ceremonies until a later date.  “I am aware of the great efforts and sacrifices made by NCCC’s Class of 2020, and we look forward to the opportunity to honor their accomplishments properly with a ceremony at a later date,” said NCCC President Dr. William J. Murabito.  “A survey will be distributed to eligible graduates, so that their preferences for a new date are taken into account.”  

Students should continue to refer to niagaracc.suny.edu/commencement for updates on the ceremony.  All students who complete program requirements and apply for graduation will receive degrees and certificates as planned.

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