Commencement celebrations for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021, in separate ceremonies.

Future Commencement Dates

  • May 22, 2021
    • Class of 2020 at 10 a.m.
    • Class of 2021 at 2 p.m.
  • May 21, 2022
  • May 20, 2023
  • May 18, 2024

Dear Class of 2020,

In the spring, when we made the difficult decision to postpone our May commencement ceremony, we offered several options to you. The choice with the most positive response was October 10, 2020. That date offered a ceremony in your graduation year, on campus when current students would be on fall break, and hopefully when the worst of the pandemic had passed.

A lot has changed since that decision. To minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus, we have adjusted the fall semester academic calendar, starting a week early (on August 17) and eliminating fall break in order to end the semester before Thanksgiving. And while COVID-19 infection rates in Frederick County are low, these rates have been sharply increasing in many parts of this country and internationally. Last week, Governor Hogan issued an executive order for people traveling to Maryland from those “hot spot” areas to be tested and self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Taken together, these changes require that we reconsider our plan to hold your commencement ceremony on October 10. Accordingly, we recently polled members of the commencement committee, which includes students from the class of 2020. They unanimously recommended that commencement not be held on October 10 for the reasons noted above. 

And so, we have made the painful decision to push back the 2020 commencement ceremony to May 2021, which was your second preferred option. Your commencement ceremony will be the same weekend as the class of 2021 (May 22-23, 2021), but you will have your own ceremony. And yes, Dean White will still be your commencement speaker. More details will be forthcoming but please hold those dates.

As I said to you several months ago, “there is one promise I will make – you will have a commencement. It is possible that the date, format, etc. may have to change but there will be a day that I will proudly, and with great joy, hand each one of you your well-earned diploma.” Knowing that day will come has helped sustain me, as I hope it has you during these difficult times.  

You are Hood’s Class of Hope. Until then, stay safe, be well and continue to do great things. I cannot wait to welcome you back to your Hood home.


Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.

Dear Members of the Class of 2020, 

I’m writing today to share with you a very difficult decision. Given the current predictions regarding the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have determined that May 16 is not a viable option for our 2020 Commencement ceremony, and we must postpone it. This also means postponing related activities, including Senior Week, the baccalaureate service, the ROTC commissioning ceremony, the doctoral hooding ceremony, the nursing pinning ceremony and the graduate degree reception.

While some schools are holding a virtual ceremony on their original commencement date, that has never been an option for Hood. I made a promise to you early on that you will have a commencement ceremony. And I have heard from many of you that that promise has helped mitigate some of the disappointment and sadness you are feeling due to the profound disruption the pandemic has caused.

Be assured that this is a postponement of celebrating your degree, not the degree itself. Based on the successful completion of your degree requirements, the Board of Trustees has voted to award your degree in May. Regardless of when we hold your commencement ceremony, as of May 16, 2020, you are a Hood College graduate.

The commencement committee met earlier this week, with a number of seniors and graduate students in attendance. Based on that meeting, we have identified three possible alternative dates for the ceremony. We’ve created a short survey outlining these options, and we are asking all 2020 graduates for input. The survey also includes space for you to provide your own thoughts. 

Please complete the survey no later than Wednesday, April 8. 

Your input will help us make the best, most student-centered decisions as we move forward with our plans. We will announce the selected date as soon as we can but no later than Friday, April 17.

I am so very sorry we will not be together on May 16, 2020, but we are planning ways for all of the Hood community to recognize and celebrate you, graduates, on that day until we can do so in person.

I am so proud of you all for not only what you’ve accomplished to get to this point, but also for how you have adapted under tremendous pressure and uncertainty. You continue to make me Hood Proud. Be well!


Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.