Saturday, October 3, 2020

Save the date for Calvin’s 100th Commencement ceremony, when we celebrate the graduates of the Class of 2020.

Commencement 2020 moving to October

Announcing plans for Commencement 2020

On April 22, in an effort to protect the health and safety of the community, Calvin University President Michael Le Roy announced the decision to postpone the university’s planned May 23 ceremony until Saturday, October 3, 2020. President Le Roy made the decision after consulting with eight student representatives, surveying the entire graduating class, and having conversations with members of Calvin’s parent council.

Honoring graduates on May 23

In addition to holding a traditional ceremony in October, Calvin also honored the graduating class on their original graduation date with an online 30-minute celebratory event. Visit for videos and fun resources to keep celebrating this significant moment.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Will there still be an in-person commencement ceremony for the class of 2020?
    Yes. Calvin will host an in-person commencement ceremony to celebrate the class of 2020 on Saturday, October 3, 2020.

  2. Will there be a backup date for the in-person ceremony in October?
    Due to the ongoing challenge and uncertainty of COVID-19, there is still a possibility that the October ceremony will have to be rescheduled. Therefore, we have scheduled fallback dates of December 12, 2020, and April 17, 2021 just in case. We are very committed to a gathering in person. If the October celebration needs to be postponed, this will be decided by September 1.

  3. Why are we having an in-person commencement ceremony?
    Commencement is a time for gratitude to God and those who support our students, a time of celebration of student gifts and accomplishments, and a time of great joy for all members of the community. We believe that this kind of celebration is best when we do so in person. Students who completed the survey also agree. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of seniors are strongly in favor of a traditional ceremony that gives them the opportunity to reconnect in person with friends and faculty.

  4. Why not have the in-person ceremony during the summer?
    Based on federal and state guidance and CDC recommendations, we believe it is unlikely that we will be permitted to convene a gathering of 5,000 people on campus this summer and have determined that it would not be realistic to expect that an in-person summer ceremony could proceed if planned.

  5. Why will the in-person commencement ceremony take place in October?
    The in-person commencement for the class of 2020 will be postponed to homecoming weekend (October 2-4) to make the ceremony as accessible as possible for students and families who are traveling from a distance. The postponement was decided in response to survey results which showed that most students and families would prefer that a non-summer graduation take place in the Fall. This date will allow students who are completing their last semester in the Fall to walk on the stage as well.

  6. Why are we not doing a combined ceremony with the class of 2021 next spring?
    Survey responses show that students are strongly opposed to pushing the ceremony back to 2021, especially if the ceremony were to be merged with the commencement of the class of 2021. Merging both classes’ ceremonies into one would be impractical (a likely gathering of 10,000) and would also diminish the importance of this moment for both the class of 2020 and 2021.

  7. Will there be lodging for graduates who come back to Grand Rapids in October?
    We cannot offer on-campus lodging at this time, as we expect the residence halls to be full of students. Graduates are welcome to make their own arrangements to stay with returning students they know. We will communicate more information as the time comes closer.

  8. What about ceremonies for commissioning/hooding/pinning?
    Commissioning/hooding/pinning ceremonies and exhibitions may still take place virtually in May or in-person the same week of the commencement ceremony in October 2020. Details about these events will be communicated by program administrators in the next few weeks and will be included on the commencement website.

  9. What if I cannot join the ceremony in October?
    We are aware that it might be difficult for some graduates to attend this ceremony on campus in October. The commencement ceremony will be livestreamed on the Calvin website and posted to a highlights page afterward. Every name of every graduate will be read at the ceremony. Pictures of those students not in attendance will be projected on the big screen when their names are read.

  10. What about the caps and gowns? Do I need to order them before a certain date?
    A communication will be sent to all graduates in August 2020 with the deadline for when they will need to confirm their attendance at the October commencement events (including the ceremony), request tickets for the ceremony, and order a cap and gown.

  11. How will I receive my diploma?
    Regardless of whether or not you participate in the ceremony in person, you will still receive your diploma via mail following the completion of your courses and fulfillment of academic requirements. The rescheduling of the commencement ceremony will have no effect on this process. If your diploma mailing address has changed since you completed your Alumni Association grad survey in May, email with the new address.

  12. How long will my Calvin student email address be active?
    Your Calvin accounts and access to Calvin services (Email, Office 365, Calvin Google Apps, Moodle, wireless access, printing access, network storage) will remain open until November 1, 2020. Student-focused messages may still come to your student email, while alumni messages will be sent to your permanent email and mailing address. We encourage you to review the steps you should take before November 1 to transition your accounts.