“I know those of you who will graduate in May, and many of our friends and supporters, have been anxiously awaiting word on how CDSP will celebrate commencement this year,” wrote the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, PhD, in an email to the CDSP community.
“We have determined that the responsible and safe thing to do is host online activities only. We recognize that this experience will not be exactly like an in-person commencement, but given the realities of the need to care for the safety of our community, we believe this is the best alternative.”
These activities will mix live and recorded formats and will feature the return of the much beloved Baccalaureate service, to be planned by graduating students. The details for these observances are as follows.
Baccalaureate will take place on Friday, May 21, at 5:45 pm Pacific Daylight Time. It will be a live Zoom event.
The Dean of Students Office will host a virtual retreat on Saturday, February 27, for all residential and low-residence students graduating in 2021. This event will provide time for reflection on students’ seminary experience and launch the baccalaureate planning process in collaboration with the Rev. Dr. Randal Gardner, director of chapel.
Commencement this year will be an online, pre-recorded service, with an interactive watch party on Saturday, May 22, at 10:30 am Pacific Daylight Time. This service will contain the aspects of an in-person service that are safe to record in advance: music, worship, speakers, presentation of awards, and awarding of degrees (including honorary degrees).
“In March of last year, we told the Class of 2020 that they would be invited to return to campus in May 2021 to participate in a joint, in-person ceremony,” Richardson wrote. “We designed last year’s event as a celebration of their journey at CDSP, not a commencement. At that time, we did not anticipate that we would still be in a pandemic environment by late spring of 2021, making it unsafe to gather. We will extend an invitation to them for the next in-person ceremony, hopefully in May 2022.”