Commencement 2020 rescheduled due to COVID-19

College hopes to host in-person ceremony in October

By Andrew Faucher

A recent commencement ceremony on the Harwood Memorial Union lawn. Photo courtesy of

As a result of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Ripon College officials have rescheduled the 2020 Commencement Ceremony from its original May 17 date. It will now take place on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, Oct 3-4,  if deemed appropriate by public health authorities. The college will also continue to hold virtual events for convocation, senior week and the original Commencement date.


The decision was announced to the student body by Ripon College President Zach Messitte via email on April 10, after many reassurances that the college would do whatever they could for Commencement to be an in-person ceremony. There is aversion toward a virtual gathering through a conference call app such as Zoom, which the college has adopted for online classes. With important campus events such as Catalyst Day presentations being held virtually, the connection (internet and human) is not as strong.


“There is something about the setting and grandeur of the process that is important. We worked years for our degrees, so it’s rough that we can’t get that,” says Nate Jung ‘20.


“I’ve often said that Commencement is the best day of the year. At the end of the ceremony, our graduates walk up the hill away from the iconic bell tower and through a line of our faculty and staff. Proud parents, family and friends watch attentively as each new graduate holds the diploma that they just received from me. It is part of our tradition,” President Zach Messitte said.


Despite the current conditions, Ripon College extended its congratulations to the graduating seniors of 2020, with Messitte wishing, “health, happiness and safety at home in the weeks ahead”.

Updates on Ripon College Commencement 2020 can be found at