Fellow Bears:

Since I announced that we would begin transitioning courses to alternate delivery, one of the most frequently asked questions I have received has been what will happen to Spring 2020 Commencement. Like other institutions across Colorado and our nation, UNC made the difficult decision to not host May graduation ceremonies following the guidance of the State of Colorado and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I know from your messages to me that this was devastating news for many of you. I hope you know that having to make this decision was heartbreaking for me and my team, too.

We have spent the last few weeks collecting feedback directly from our graduates, exploring all the alternatives, and beginning to put together a plan to honor and celebrate the Class of 2020. After hearing from you, we have decided to host a separate and distinct set of Commencement activities and ceremonies for our spring 2020 graduating class in December of this year. We are planning to host these graduation activities the same weekend as our fall 2020 ceremonies—the weekend of December 11-13, but I want to be clear that the ceremonies will not be combined. The resilient, formidable members of UNC’s spring 2020 graduating class will have their own time to shine. Those who are unable to attend in December will be invited to join us for Spring Commencement in May 2021.

We will share additional details with graduates soon so they can make arrangements to attend with their families and others who have supported them throughout your lives and education. In the short term, we are working on some special ways to celebrate and recognize our spring 2020 graduating class before the semester ends. Several colleges and departments are also planning virtual events to recognize their graduates.

Before I close this message, I want to share a few words with the graduates of the Class of 2020. 

I am proud of you. We are all proud of you. Throughout these last few years, but especially in these last few weeks, we have admired your hard work, persistence, and courage. Although your Commencement ceremony will be delayed, do not lose sight of the fact that in just a few short weeks you will have achieved the goal that brought you to UNC. You will have earned a college degree. In these final weeks of the semester, do not lose sight of the finish line—it is approaching fast. Keep working hard and finish strong. We are here to support you when you need help and are rooting for every one of you. And, we will continue to be here for you once you complete your degree and join the UNC Alumni network along with 130,000 Bears who came before you. 

I also cannot wait to celebrate you in December—to shake your hand as your name is called and you cross the stage. Many of you are the first in your family to graduate from college; others represent the latest generation of Bear alumni in your family. I have heard from some of you about the extraordinary hardship you endured to make it to this point and how you reached this pinnacle because you fixed your gaze forward and never gave up. Whatever your journey entailed and wherever it takes you next, you have earned this moment. I hope you will come back to Greeley to celebrate your accomplishments with us, as well as to see your friends and mentors again.

Stay Healthy, Bears!

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Andy Feinstein
UNC President