Published July 30, 2021
President Satish K. Tripathi has announced that the university will hold an in-person commencement celebration to honor the Class of 2020 during Homecoming Weekend.
On Oct. 1, UB will hold two ceremonies for the 2020 graduates: one for undergraduates and another for graduate-degree recipients.
“As we celebrate our university’s 175th anniversary, I am delighted to welcome our 2020 graduates back to campus to recognize their significant academic milestone,” Tripathi said.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic required us to hold our 2020 commencement exercises in a virtual format, we are thrilled to now have this opportunity to safely honor our 2020 graduates in a manner befitting their accomplishments — at UB, in their regalia, walking the stage and sharing in this happy occasion with family, friends and classmates.”
The undergraduate ceremony will start at 10 a.m., while the graduate ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Both will be held inside Alumni Arena and will be ticketed for guests. Each graduate will be allotted two tickets. Additional tickets may be available based on participation once registration closes. Both programs also will be livestreamed.
Graduates will receive an invitation to commencement from their respective school or college, with information about how to register.
In spring 2020, Tripathi noted, UB promised to bring graduates back to campus to celebrate commencement when it was safe to do so. “Now that it is feasible, we hope as many graduates as possible can join us for this eventful celebration,” he said.
The ceremonies will follow the university’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear a mask.
Ceremonies will not be school-specific. Instead, all units will be combined. However, members of the Class of 2020 will be pre-seated according to their school or college.
Tripathi and A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will deliver the welcome and opening remarks. Each school’s dean will give brief remarks before graduates begin crossing the stage.
Tripathi acknowledged how disappointing it was for 2020 UB graduates to be unable to participate in commencement exercises in person last year.
“History will always remember the Class of 2020 for graduating at the height of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic,” he said. “For our part, UB will remember this historic class for demonstrating exceptional innovation, resilience and adaptability during exceptionally trying times.”
It was just as disappointing for 2021 graduates whose participation in the spring 2021 commencement was limited by the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, which still continued to plague our communities and affect every aspect of our lives. The class of 2021 ought to equally be remembered for their resilience, innovativeness and adaptability in these "exceptionally trying times." Will we — graduates who participated in the watered-down version of commencement in the spring — be given the opportunity of a full in-person ceremony that is befitting with our hard work and accomplishments?
Samantha Walton Wackford
Good day. As an UB alumnus, I would like to thank you for the invitation. However, I might not be able to attend the ceremony.
International students have to pay all travel expenses out of pocket, which can be extraordinarily expensive. I'll have to spend roughly two to four weeks in total, including staying in quarantine centers upon returning from the U.S. Not to mention it'll also be challenging to get all necessary travel documents — Visa, I-20, vaccine passport, etc. — done before Oct. 1.
I am, however, keen to discuss with you all other available alternatives.
Kim Hao Teong