Student & Family Information

We regretfully share the news that Commencement, planned for Saturday, May 9, will be postponed.

This decision was based on the CDC recommendation that, during the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. We understand that this necessary postponement will come as a tremendous disappointment to our graduating seniors, and we are firmly committed to celebrating the Class of 2020 and their achievements at a later date.

Updated: March 17, 2020

Dear Graduate,

As President Link wrote to you on September 4, we are planning to hold your Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, November 22. We promised that we would be back in contact with you before October 16 with a more concrete program of events and a means to sign up. This is that promised communication.

Please go here to sign up for the Commencement Ceremony. Please complete the form even if you do not intend to attend. The deadline to submit this form is Wednesday, October 21, two weeks from now.

You will need to be logged into your allegheny/edu account to complete this form. Once you have completed the form, a confirmation will be sent to your e-mail. If this confirmation does not arrive, then you did not successfully complete the form.

The information in this message is duplicated at the Commencement website. Please check that site for updates and for additional information about photographs, flowers, etc. If you have questions, please reply to this message or e-mail

We are looking forward to celebrating your Allegheny accomplishments at Commencement. You are receiving this message because you were eligible to “walk” in the Commencement ceremony originally scheduled for May 2020. That ceremony has been rescheduled and will take place on Sunday, November 22, 2020. 

The form linked above is designed to let us know who will be attending and to gather some basic information. More information will be sent to those students who plan to attend closer to the date of the event. 

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 week-long celebration, but we want to replicate in miniature, and 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 to fewer than 100 students (plus guests and necessary staff), so that we remain in compliance with the State’s guidance about the size of outdoor gatherings.

  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 — comp burning ceremony and a mini Taste of Meadville experience (subject to vendor availability).
  4. Baccalaureate — faith-oriented ceremony for those students who are interested.

Eligibility: Being eligible to “walk” in a Commencement Ceremony means either that you have already graduated (since May 2019) or that your anticipated graduation date falls within the nine months following May 2020 (so, January 2021). If you have walked in a prior Commencement ceremony, you are not eligible to walk on November 22, 2020.

Timing: The first Commencement Ceremony will start at 9:00 am on Sunday, November 22. 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.

Guests: Each student will be permitted two guests, no more. All guests are expected to follow all public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement.

Financial Accessibility: We plan to cover the cost of one hotel room for one night (the night before Commencement, Saturday, November 21) 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.

Health & 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 non-family members, and follow all of the applicable public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement. If you are located in one of the areas on the PA COVID-19 quarantine list, you should not plan on attending Commencement. This list is regularly updated by the state.

Gator Pledge: All 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-specific Gator Pledge will be shared with attendees soon.

Weather: 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. This is at the low end of the temperature range for May Commencements. 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.

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

If you wish to change your preferred e-mail address on file with the College, please use this link.

We are committed to November 22 so long as it is safe and feasible and if it is not, we are committed to celebrating you in-person at some point, and in some way. President Link has been adamant about that in her directions to us all. 

We look forward to seeing you again.

Finally, Career Education asked that we pass along this message to you. Their support does not end at graduation.

Still Navigating the Job Search?  We can help!

The Career Coaches in the Gateway continue to offer opportunities to meet virtually by phone or Google Meet to support your job search.  They can help you clarify the types of positions you’re searching for and then connect with employers who are seeking to fill those types of positions.  

Use your Handshake account to schedule an appointment by clicking on “Career Center” and then “Schedule Appointment.”  Haven’t yet activated your Handshake account?  Visit, enter your email address, and you’ll be all set to connect with a career coach and with over 2,200 employers who have requested permission to post jobs at Allegheny College, many of whom are alumni connected.   

Best wishes and be well, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. 


Ian Binnington, Dean of Curriculum and College Registrar

Lynn McManness-Harlan, Director, Conference & Event Services