Virtual commencement announced for 2021 graduates


TORCH PHOTO / Brenden Willisch

Commencement is officially virtual for the Class of 2021. 

President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. wrote in an internal communication on Feb. 25 that, “given the current state of the pandemic… we have made the difficult decision to confer degrees through a virtual ceremony this May.”

“I want our graduates and families to know that we came to this decision reluctantly. We considered numerous modified, in-person options,” Shanley wrote. “Our first and foremost priority is to ensure the health and safety of our graduates, their families, and the broader St. John’s community. We are committed to honoring our graduates in a special and distinguished way in May.”

Shanley hopes to hold a modified, in-person graduation ceremony for this graduating class later in the summer. 

The schedule for the Virtual Recognition Ceremonies is as follows: 

  • Monday, May 17, 2021 — College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Graduate-Level 
  • Tuesday, May 18, 2021 — The Peter J. Tobin College of Business Graduate-Level 
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 — The School of Education Graduate-Level
  • Thursday, May 20, 2021 — St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate-Level 
  • Friday, May 21, 2021 — The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies Graduate-Level 
  • Sunday, May 23, 2021 — Undergraduate-Level (Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island) 

No details of what this virtual recognition ceremony will entail have been announced as of the time of publication. 

Last year’s in-person graduation ceremonies were also canceled by then-President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw. Instead, the University held “virtual recognition events,” such as a “GradSlideshow,” a slideshow recognizing graduates.

The University hoped to invite 2020 graduates back for an in-person celebration this year, but according to the update that will not be happening this spring. Shanley stated that “we are still planning a time when we can safely bring them back to campus to celebrate their graduation.”

For more Commencement announcements, visit the St. John’s website in the coming weeks for the latest updates.


This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.