Commencement Updates

Cancelled: Commencement 2020

Updated: November 11, 2020

We must deliver the difficult news that we have cancelled our plans for Commencement on Sunday, November 22. This is deeply disappointing, but the risk to the health and safety of you and your family members is just too great.

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Public Health and Safety Expectations

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.  We expect everyone to:

  1. Participate in the Allegheny Community of Mutual Care as expressed in the Gator Pledge for Commencement. You and your guests will be asked to sign this pledge when you check-in.
  2. Wear face coverings at all times (including for photographs taken on-site).
  3. Maintain at least six feet of distance from non-family members. We regret that this means no hugging!
  4. Follow all of the applicable public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement.
  5. Refrain from attending if you are  traveling from one of the states on the PA COVID-19 quarantine list, you should not plan on attending Commencement. This list is regularly updated by the state, usually on a Friday.


We are planning three identical Commencement ceremonies, to accommodate the number of graduates who wish to participate. Ceremonies will take place at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Ceremonies will take place at two-hour increments to allow for the ceremony and cleaning.

Please click here to express your time preferences. We need a response by 5:00 pm next Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Please understand that to make this work, we need to evenly distribute the celebrants among the three ceremonies, but we will do our best to accommodate your preferences. Students participating in Baccalaureate MUST select either the 9:00 am or 11:00 am Commencement ceremony. 1:00 pm is not an option for these students.

As we are holding multiple ceremonies, we also ask that graduates and their families leave campus once their events and picture-taking is concluded. This will make room for the next group and allow event staff time to prepare.

Caps and Gowns

You may pick up your cap and gown on the second floor of the Campus Center.

Honor Cords, Stoles, and Pins

Please bring with you whatever honor cords, stoles, and pins you were awarded so you can wear them at Commencement. If you have lost them, we are able to replace official, Allegheny College honors cords for Latin Honors recipients. We cannot replace cords, stoles, and pins from other organizations.


Each student may bring a maximum of two guests. Each family member will pick up their own Commencement Ceremony ticket from the Box Office, located in the Campus Center lobby. Family members need to be on the list provided by their graduate and have a photo ID in order to collect their tickets.


Parking lots will be designated either Green for general parking,  Red for reserved parking or Blue for persons with disabilities: lots #25 (Park Ave.) and 7 & 8 (behind Crawford).  You must have a designated placard to park in blue lots.


We are planning for a photo slideshow to recognize all members of the Class of 2020. We are using yearbook photos but as many students do not have a yearbook photo, we invite you to send one image of your choosing to You may send an image even if you have a yearbook photograph. We will be inviting  classmates who are unable to attend the ceremony to send us photos as well. To be included in the slideshow, please send your image by November 13. Your sending us an image will constitute permission for us to display the image in public for Commencement purposes.


Students who wish to stay in a local hotel should book their own room for the night of Saturday, November 21. Students who filled out the appropriate section in the Commencement form will receive a check for $125 for one room during the check-in process on Sunday. The College is able to provide this funding thanks to generous gifts from alumni and friends who want to make your Commencement as enjoyable and accessible as possible.


The Baccalaureate ceremony will be offered at two different times and will include recognition of first-generation students. If you did not sign up for this ceremony but would like to attend, please contact Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell at Students participating in Baccalaureate MUST select either the 9:00 am or 11:00 am Commencement ceremony. 1:00 pm is not an option for these students.


The Commencement ceremony will be held outside unless weather conditions are dire. This is to allow gatherings of up to 250 as per state guidance. You should plan for chilly weather and the possibility of snow or rain. The average temperature on this day for the last decade is 47 degrees. The local temperature at noon on Saturday, May 9, your original Commencement date, was 37 degrees. 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 take place.

If Commencement must be held inside, that information will be posted to the Commencement website on the morning of Sunday, November 22.