Cornell College holds 2020, 2021 Commencements May 15–16

Cornell College will celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 in two separate outdoor Commencements May 15 and 16 on Van Metre Field at Ash Park. While significant adjustments are being made to reduce the chance for COVID-19 transmission, one thing won’t change: Graduates will walk across the stage.

Commencement photo with diploma coverThe Class of 2020 was honored during a Virtual Commencement last year, and many will return for their in-person ceremony. Four events will be held over the weekend:

  • 3 p.m. Friday, May 14: Virtual Baccalaureate service streamed on Facebook
  • 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15: Commencement for the Class of 2020
  • 10 a.m. Sunday, May 16: Phi Beta Kappa Inauguration (Classes of 2020, 2021)
  • 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 16: Commencement for the Class of 2021

The senior speaker for 2021’s ceremony will be Maddix Stovie. She is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and will graduate with an individualized major in public relations and marketing. Assistant Professor of Psychology Steven Neese is the 2021 faculty speaker.

2020’s class speaker will be Sofia Schnur, who is working as a research assistant in an immunology and virology lab at Virginia Tech. Their faculty speaker will be Joe Dieker, Professor of Music and Dean of the College Emeritus.

Both Commencements also will be livestreamed on Facebook. The events will be held rain or shine. Face masks and proper distancing is required for all participants and guests, with advance tickets required. 

This marks the first time Cornell will hold Commencement at Van Metre Field at Ash Park, home to Cornell’s football, track & field, and lacrosse programs. The historic field reopened in 2018 after major renovations featuring a new field entrance plaza, home grandstand seating, scoreboard, and concessions stand. The former grass field was turfed in 2013.

Baccalaureate will be held virtually for both classes on Friday, May 14. The shortened, 20-minute interspiritual service will include the traditional words of gratitude from graduating seniors on behalf of their faculty, family, staff, and friends, and inter-spiritual wisdom for the life journey which includes a message by Chaplain of the College Catherine Quehl-Engel, a 1989 Cornell graduate. 

The Phi Beta Kappa Inauguration is a small in-person event for those elected and their ticketed guests.

Follow the events on social media with #CornellCGrad and look for the geofilter on Snapchat.