UC Berkeley to postpone commencement due to coronavirus

March 23, 2020

Chancellor Carol Christ sent the following message to graduating seniors on Monday, along with a link to a survey:

Many of you have reached out to inquire about our plans for commencement this May. Your communications with my office have been thoughtful, kind, and compassionate, and for that I am deeply grateful. We find ourselves in uncharted waters in having to make a decision about something as special as commencement. We all love commencement, and you all are certainly so very deserving of a meaningful celebration that honors all of your hard work and accomplishments at Berkeley.

I am writing today to let you know that due to the continuing public health threat posed by COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the May 16 all-campus commencement. This was a difficult decision, but we heard so many of you when you asked for a decision so that you can move forward with your own plans. In the coming days, you will also be hearing from your school, college, and affinity groups regarding plans for those specific graduation ceremonies.

This is a postponement, and as a next step, we would like your advice on how and when we mark this milestone in your lives. Your achievements certainly warrant a celebration, and we hope that you will ring in with your thoughts. We could set a date later in the summer in the hope that conditions improve sufficiently. We could invite you to participate in the December 2020 or the May 2021 ceremonies, or we could hold a virtual celebration on the original May 16, 2020 date. We want to hear from you. Please consider participating in this survey to help us find a new path forward.

You are the lifeblood of this campus and we share your sadness and frustration that we won’t be able to proceed with our traditional May commencement.

As I wrote to you last week, I am deeply grateful for our community’s resilience in the face of adversity, and I am committed to celebrating with you.

Chancellor Carol Christ