Dear Morgan Community,
Celebrating the graduation of our students is a special occasion during the academic year, and hosting in-person commencement ceremonies on our campus is a time-honored tradition. Last Spring, for the first time, we were forced to disrupt that tradition due to the advent of a global pandemic—the likes of which we had never seen before. And we are still battling that pandemic today.
As I have previously announced on multiple occasions, it is our intention to hold modified in-person commencements for our graduating students this spring, as well as for our graduates who received their degrees during the 2020 calendar year and were unable to have a traditional graduation experience due to COVID-19 protocols prohibiting mass gatherings. Please know that we are still diligently planning for those ceremonies, however, due to ongoing health safety concerns related to the potential spread of COVID-19, a gathering of the size we are planning has to receive the approval from City of Baltimore officials. As of this morning, the City has not approved our request, though I expect that it will render a decision next week. At that time, I hope to be able to communicate to you in a more definite way as to what our plans will entail regarding the bringing of guests.
It is our hope that our graduating students will be able to safely bring 2-4 guests to be a part of the commencement ceremony.
Please understand that Morgan is not alone in this regard as other Baltimore City-based universities planning in-person commencement ceremonies are facing the same challenges. I do know that a couple of those institutions have opted to proceed without guests to remain in compliance with City protocols; however, we have decided to await the City’s update before making a final decision. Should restrictions be lifted, the commencement ceremonies would proceed as follows:
The University would host two commencement exercises with guest attendance on Friday, May 14, 2021. One would be held in the morning for 2020 undergraduate students and the second would take place in the afternoon for 2020 and 2021 Graduate School students. The following day, on Saturday, May 15, 2021, there would be one ceremony for 2021 undergraduate students with guests in attendance.
In the event that restrictions remain in place, we will have to implement one of the two following backup options:
The same as Option #1 but without any guests in attendance.
Throughout the week of May 10-15, 2021, the University would hold multiple micro graduation ceremonies for 2020 and 2021 undergraduate and Graduate School students with the option of guest attendance.
Please keep in mind that with the execution of any of the aforementioned options, ceremonies this year will not resemble our traditional ceremonies with the traditional pomp and circumstance and pageantry that many of us at Morgan have come to expect. They would entail scaling things down significantly and creating an event environment that promotes safety and keeps people from gathering for an extended period.
In this pandemic environment, we have to remain flexible and open minded as all plans are subject to change. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to work through this process in a timely fashion. And we look forward to celebrating this very special occasion with you.
David K. Wilson