Class of 2020 Commencement Details

The Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020
will be held on Saturday, July 31.

Please read all information below. • Commencement sign-up form coming soon.

Our Plan for Commencement

We plan to focus on the core, College-organized elements of the Commencement ceremony which are also the things that students mentioned repeatedly as being important to them. We know we cannot create a typical celebration, but we want to replicate, within public health guidelines, as much of the typical experience as possible.

This means four elements, or stations, which will be repeated as many times as necessary and through which students and their guests will move. Attendance at Commencement ceremonies will be limited so that we remain in compliance with the State’s guidance about the size of outdoor gatherings. This means that there will be multiple Commencement ceremonies.

  1. Commencement Ceremony: planned to be held on Bicentennial Plaza. Names will be read and diploma covers will be presented. These ceremonies will be professionally live streamed.
  2. All Campus Reception: opportunity to say goodbye to buildings and people.
  3. Senior Week: we are in the process of planning celebratory activities in collaboration with class officers.
  4. Baccalaureate: faith-oriented ceremony for those students who are interested.


With a handful of exceptions, being eligible to “walk” in the 2020 Commencement Ceremony means you would have been eligible in May 2020.


Each student will be permitted only two guests. All guests are expected to follow all public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement. Please see the linked “Community of Mutual Care” below.

We know this restriction will be a disappointment to many students; we heard that clearly from the Class of 2020 officers. We have reviewed several options for expanded participation and we are unable to make any of them work safely. The events will be livestreamed and available via the College’s YouTube channel. Please remember that these restrictions do not come from the College but from the Governor, and they are in place to protect the health and safety of our community. We wish we could include more people, but there is simply no safe way to do so.

Health and Safety

Allegheny College follows the guidance of the Allegheny College Health Agency, informed by the State of Pennsylvania, the Centers for Disease Control, and other applicable agencies. This means that participants in Commencement must wear face coverings at all times (including for photographs taken on-site), maintain at least six feet of distance from other guests, and follow all of the applicable public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement. State guidance is subject to change, and so this information may change by the time of the Commencement ceremony.


We anticipate that the first Commencement Ceremony will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, July 31.

Ceremonies will take place at two-hour increments after that to allow for the ceremony and cleaning. Students will be able to sign up for specific times once we know how many students are planning to attend.

Financial Accessibility

As previously promised, we plan to cover the cost of lodgings for one night (the night before Commencement, Friday, July 30) for all students who live at least 50 miles away from the College. We will also cover the cost of a cap and gown purchase for all students who want one whether or not they plan to attend the ceremony.

Gator Pledge

All participants and guests will be expected to sign a shortened and Commencement-specific version of the Gator Pledge. This is a part of our Community of Mutual Care. All current students and employees are subject to their own versions of the Gator Pledge.


The Commencement ceremony will be held outside unless weather conditions are dire. This is to allow safe gatherings as per state guidance. If the weather truly does not allow for an outdoor ceremony, you should know that indoor events will be much smaller, per state guidance, and not all planned Commencement events will be able to take place.

We appreciate the input given us by the Class of 2020 officers.
Their feedback was important as we shaped plans for this ceremony.