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4-8-20 Commencement 2020 Update from Father Shanley

Dear Members of the Class of 2020:

I want to provide you with an update on your Commencement, and the steps we have taken to ensure that you and your families, along with the College’s faculty and staff, will have a fulfilling and enjoyable opportunity to celebrate your wonderful achievements. 

As you know, we announced a few weeks ago that the current COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone your Commencement celebration originally scheduled for May 17. Since then, College representatives have spoken with several student leaders from your class, and recently conducted an online survey to gather your thoughts and comments. More than 90% of the respondents (over 600 students) articulated a strong preference for an in-person, traditional Commencement to be held later this calendar year. Students also expressed a desire for preserving some senior activities.

After discussing the feasibility of alternative scenarios with our event planning team, the Cabinet, and Commencement venue administrators, I am pleased and excited to notify you that we have arranged to hold a traditional, in-person Commencement at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Saturday, October 31.  We also have scheduled your Commencement Mass to be celebrated on Friday, October 30 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, a magnificent church in downtown Providence.

Also, I plan to confer your degrees on Sunday, May 17, as a virtual event. This virtual conferral or formal acknowledgment of the completion of your degree requirements will allow you to reference your Providence College degree as having been awarded to you on that date, which is important for so many of you who are pursuing graduate studies or employment opportunities. 

Student Affairs is working with student planners to identify a venue for your senior formal, which is scheduled for Thursday evening, October 29. More information will be forthcoming. Our College Events Office team is working on all necessary logistics for the conferral of degrees, the Commencement Mass, and Commencement.  College Events will connect with you soon with a finalized schedule, including information on academic attire, tickets, hotels, and other logistical matters to help you plan accordingly.  For now, I wanted to bring you this good news, as I believe it represents a ray of light and hope during these dark and uncertain times.

I continue to pray for your health and safety, as I do for that of our entire College community. I wish each of you and your families a very holy and blessed Passover and Easter. May God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, who traveled his own dark and uncertain road to Calvary, continue to bless us all with His peace and His Grace.


Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80