University Announces Commencement Plans for the Class of 2020



On Saturday, May 2 a poll was issued to SJU seniors asking their interest in a virtual recognition event to celebrate their graduation as well as an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 next spring. The poll assessed the interest level of the graduating class of participating in these events.

On Wednesday, May 6 President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw sent an email to SJU seniors detailing the results of said poll and the actions that will be taken concerning the Class of 2020 moving forward. Based on the feedback received, the majority of seniors expressed interest in a virtual recognition ceremony now and an in-person ceremony that would be held at a later date when public health guidelines permit.

The University officially announced in the email that it is exploring the possibility of holding the Class of 2020 commencement ceremony next spring. They plan to provide the details of these events to the seniors well in advance when they are finalized.

The delayed in-person commencement ceremony would be separate from the completion of the Class of 2020’s undergraduate or graduate studies — degrees will be conferred on schedule with the completion of their academic requirements.

In the email, President Gempesaw expressed to the Class of 2020 that their “Commencement will not go unrecognized, nor will the fact that you have earned your degree and are now a graduate of St. John’s. This milestone marks your place among the ranks of our family of 190,000 living alumni.”

The University also provided a list of several important upcoming dates for seniors to be aware of.

  • Prior to May 16, all students scheduled to graduate will receive a formal letter from Provost Simon Møller and President Gempesaw to formally recognize their academic achievements.
  • On Sunday, May 17, all Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan undergraduate students will receive a digital congratulatory message from Provost Møller and President Gempesaw.
  • Graduate-level students scheduled to graduate will receive a digital congratulatory message from their respective Deans to coincide with the previously scheduled dates of the Graduate Commencement Exercises between May 15 – May 20.
  • On Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, the University will be hosting online virtual recognition events for all graduating undergraduate students and for each of the graduate-level schools and colleges. These virtual recognition events will include a separate celebratory slideshow with individual graduate recognition. 

Additional information regarding event details for the Class of 2020 will be provided by the University during the upcoming week. Apart from emails, the latest information regarding commencement will also be posted on

President Gempesaw left the Class of 2020 with these closing words: “The Class of 2020 holds a special place in our thoughts and prayers at this time of great disruption due to the COVID-19 global health crisis. Through it all, you have demonstrated the resolve and resilience that allowed you to complete your studies in a timely fashion. We thank you for your efforts and commend your adaptability to these challenging circumstances. On behalf of the St. John’s faculty, staff and administrators, I wish you the best of luck with the conclusion of the spring semester and final exams.”