Commencement Message

Posted March 19

To our graduating students:

One of my most anticipated moments each year is the honor and pleasure of presiding over commencement ceremonies for our graduating class in DeLand, and for our College of Law graduates in Gulfport. As your ceremony starts, I look over the assembled audience and consider how everyone's success comes together at that moment: students’ hard work and achievements; faculty members' inspirational teaching and mentoring; staff members' professionalism and commitment; and, your family and friends' investment in you.

Recent guidance from the CDC, restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next eight weeks and practicing social distancing, makes it impossible for the university to celebrate your achievements at a formal, in-person graduation ceremony in mid-May. I am heartbroken but am writing to inform you, Class of 2020, undergraduate and graduate, that we must postpone your commissioning event, honors and award receptions and commencement ceremonies at this time.

You and your faculty have worked so hard for this, and you deserve every special moment that comes in your final semester and during commencement ceremonies. I promise you we will celebrate your commencement, and we will be in contact to ask for your feedback and input on the best way for those celebrations to occur. Additionally, we welcome your feedback on other senior celebratory activities that can no longer be held as planned. Thank you to the College of Law students for providing feedback to your dean about your thoughts on commencement. We will be reaching out to DeLand seniors as well.

Although the celebrations are postponed, your achievements are not. All students successfully completing their coursework and other requirements within the prescribed period of time will be graduates of Stetson University. Delaying the celebrations will not delay your degree. You will receive notice of the successful completion of requirements for your degree program and will receive your diploma in the mail.

I am profoundly sad about the need for this announcement. I am seeing evidence of Hatter strength and resilience everywhere I look. Our sense of love and community will help us weather the days until we come together for your commencement ceremonies in the future.

Wendy Libby, PhD, President