President’s Letter on October Ceremony

Dear Class of 2020,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that we will not be able to hold an in-person commencement celebration this fall, as we had hoped when we announced a fully remote ceremony in the spring.

At the time, many were optimistic that the COVID-19 pandemic would be fully under control by the fall, permitting a resumption of normal activities. As we know now, that has not been the case. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s current guidelines on large gatherings — part of a comprehensive state strategy that has seen our infection rate drop to one of the lowest in the country — prohibit any ceremony on the scale that we envision for commencement.

I am disappointed by this news, as I know you are. But I take solace in your resilience and leadership, and the way you responded so enthusiastically to our remote ceremony in May, with more than 45,000 people attending — the largest commencement in the 139-year history of our University. Seeing the videos so many of you posted online showing your participation from home in full commencement regalia is one of the truly fond memories for me from this unusual time, and hopefully will be for you.

A more tangible souvenir from that day is also available; for those of you who would like a physical copy of the commencement program, you can request one here.

In closing, I am confident that, as you have already begun to make your way in the world, your journey will sooner or later lead back to your alma mater — perhaps for homecoming, or to cheer on one of our teams, or simply to walk the familiar paths of your student days and savor the memories you made there. And when that happens — in a world that has returned to something we remember as normal — I hope you’ll remember your commencement as a moment when you overcame unprecedented adversity as one of the most memorable graduating classes in UConn history.

With warm regards,

Thomas Katsouleas

President, University of Connecticut