Message from Interim President, Dr. Laurie Quinn to Graduating Seniors

Dear Champlain College Seniors and Families,

I am following up today on my recent video message in which I shared the news of our virtual commencement and delayed in-person ceremony plans. Please know that for me personally, currently as Interim President and previously as the College’s Chief Academic Officer, graduation day represents the heart of Champlain’s mission. I feel great sadness about having to make this decision, even though it was necessary for public health and community safety. I know that many of you are experiencing sadness and disappointment too.

Our seniors, and all of you who love and support them, have been constantly in my thoughts. Today I connected virtually with one member of the graduating class, and we talked about how the range of emotions that emerge on the cusp of concluding one’s college journey are made so much more present and complicated during this COVID-19 pandemic. The mixed feelings, sense of loss, need for celebration and desire for marking the conclusion of a life milestone are with all of us. 

Virtual and In-Person Ceremonies

The optimism, strength, and creativity I see all across our class of 2020 also gives me hope that together, we will look ahead. We will have both a virtual ceremony on May 9, and an in-person ceremony, when the time is right to gather again. When we weighed the importance of celebrating on May 9, we knew we couldn’t let that date pass without a virtual ceremony, but when we thought about the irreplaceable vibrancy and the personal moments of our in-person ceremony, we knew we needed to make sure we planned for that form of celebration as well. Both are important, and one can’t replace the other, so we are doing both. Given what our class of 2020 has navigated already through the emerging history we are all living, this two-fold approach is our commitment to our seniors and their community.  Additionally, please continue to watch your email for communications from your Dean and the Student Engagement team about plans for other end-of-year events.

You will receive your Champlain College diploma via the U.S. mail soon after May 9, to the address you previously provided us on the graduation form, which you can review and update here. You can also request your cap and gown be mailed to you, and can receive a spyglass gift if you would like one. Our team is working through the logistics of shipping these items to you, so please look for additional communications from the Commencement Planning Team in the coming days. 

Share Your Ideas

The voice of our graduates, the class of 2020, is vital to our plans. The form provided here is focused on virtual commencement on May 9—we invite you to take a minute now to share your ideas, concerns, hopes, and feedback on what would work best, and what we should be mindful of in our planning. What’s most important to you for virtual commencement? The voices of our seniors will be our main guide as we shape plans for virtual commencement, so we really need your response to this form.  

When we know more about safe timing for travel to Vermont, we will be back in touch with you to ask for ideas, share options, and give updates on timing and other key facts about the in-person ceremony. While none of us thought the spring 2020 semester at Champlain College would unfold as it has, I hope you will remember that nothing can take away your Champlain years, the people you’re connected to because of them, and the gifts of a college education for life.

I wish you, your loved ones, and all in our Champlain family continued safety and strength.

Yours sincerely,