Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dear members of the Wilkes community,

This weekend, national health officials extended guidelines for social distancing until at least April 30. Though we anticipated the need to maintain physical distance until COVID- 19 peaked in our area, this new timeframe provides unfortunate clarity about just how long this period of separation could extend.

It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot hold commencement on May 16. This is not what any of us wanted, but it is the best option to continue to keep our campus community healthy and safe.

Throughout this situation, we have pledged to recognize our graduates at a commencement ceremony and our commitment remains steadfast. Therefore, we will work to identify an appropriate date that will allow us to celebrate with graduates and their families, on campus and in person, when we can safely do so. Unfortunately, we can’t name a date until we have more clarity regarding COVID-19, but we are considering a variety of options. Please know that your caps and gown will be mailed to your home address.

Though our spring commencement ceremony will be delayed, the date in which degrees are conferred, May 16, goes unchanged, as long as students’ academic requirements are met.

To the class of 2020, our hearts are with you. There is no greater joy for me and my colleagues than seeing graduates cross the stage to receive hard-earned degrees. The sense of loss that this postponement will inevitably create is real and we experience it along with you. This is an unfortunate sacrifice we are all being forced to accept, but in so doing we are acting to save lives. Commencement and the events leading up to it mean so much to you and your families, to our faculty and staff, and to me personally. That is why we are absolutely committed to holding a ceremony – with all of the fanfare to which Wilkes students are accustomed – when it is safe to do so.

Please stay well.

Paul S. Adams
Interim President