March 20, 2020
Dear Hobart and William Smith Students and Families,
Despite the disruption the Coronavirus outbreak has caused these past several weeks, we have endeavored to maintain regular operations and services, and provide educational experiences that meet the high quality you have known throughout your years on campus. These unprecedented times, however, force us to reevaluate not only our daily schedules but our annual traditions as well. As health experts expect the pandemic and its effects to persist at least into the late spring and in consideration of the health, safety and long-term wellbeing of our community, it is with disappointment that I write to announce that we will not do an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 17.
We are still in discussion about the specifics of what your graduation celebration will look like – whether virtual at the scheduled time, or postponed to a later date for an in-person event, or some combination therein. We will announce the final plan as soon as the current situation of restrictions is clearer. In any case, graduates will receive their degrees as of May 2020 and be able to report that fact to potential employers and graduate schools.
As you all know, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry ’75 is scheduled to be your Commencement speaker. Bishop Curry is an extraordinary man whose wisdom has guided millions of people around the world. Today, I’m particularly reminded of his sermon at the Royal Wedding in 2018 when he reflected on the power of love. He said: “Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.”
In this strange and stressful time, and especially in moments of worry or isolation, it is love that will buoy us. As we each seek to protect our communities and loved ones by distancing ourselves from others, please know that Hobart and William Smith stands with you, always here, always your common experience.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support during this challenging period.
Joyce P. Jacobsen