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Postpone Bryan College's Spring 2020 Commencement

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From the Bryan College Class of 2020, to the Bryan College Administration:

Whereas, despite the questionable likelihood of any such event taking place, President Livesay’s announcement of 17 April regarding spring 2020 commencement ceremonies represented a sincere disappointment for our class, especially as the news was presented as “exciting,” and

Whereas, our class reasonably wishes to experience a sense of closure to our undergraduate career (rather than an uncertain departure for spring break), and to experience the same in fellowship with our friends, classmates, teammates, families, staff, and faculty, and

Whereas, our class understands the importance of complying with local, state, and federal government guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19, and respects the College’s decisions in pursuit of such compliance, and

Whereas, our class acknowledges the wisdom in avoiding a traditional commencement ceremony on 9 May 2020, yet

Whereas, our class does not see a livestreamed ceremony to be the only option, nor indeed the best option, nor even a preferable option, to celebrate our academic achievements,

Therefore, our class humbly submits the following several earnest requests:

  • That the College continue with some form of livestream ceremony, as currently planned, on 9 May 2020; but that this ceremony not be considered to take the place of a formal, in-person ceremony; and that the purpose of such a livestream be merely to mark the important date and to facilitate the transmission of our honors and degrees.
  • That the College mail to all graduates the physical copies of all their degrees, certificates, and other honors (which would normally have been bestowed during an in-person ceremony), in order to facilitate our possession of the same and, consequently, our entry into the job market.
  • That the College, having promised several events for the Class of 2020 during Homecoming on 2-4 October 2020, hold a formal, in-person commencement ceremony on the morning of Saturday, 3 October, with such elements of a traditional commencement ceremony as are reasonable, including commencement dress, student speakers, each graduate walking and turning their tassel, and the ribbon-cutting as mentioned in the President’s announcement.

We consider these requests to be very reasonable, particularly the third, in light of the following points.

  • Many other colleges and universities will postpone rather than livestream their spring 2020 commencement ceremonies.
  • This request will utilize all senior fees already paid by the graduates, which will in turn render unnecessary any request by the graduates for a refund of those fees.
  • Such an event will fulfill student desires for a sense of closure experienced in fellowship with peers and family.
  • An October event is preferable to a summer event (as adopted by other schools) because both current students and graduates alike will be more likely to be available during the fall semester than during the summer.
  • The willingness of the College to exert this special effort would be taken by our class as an ultimate and admirable expression of care and farewell after four years of great expense and exertion.

Our class, having invested much into our education, remains thankful for the investment Bryan College has made in each of us. God has used the College to bless each of us, and it is our hope that He has likewise used us for your benefit. We are thankful for the College’s efforts to honor and celebrate our achievements, and for its willingness to discuss these possibilities with our class. We remain, respectfully, open to discussion.

Christ above all,

Bryan College Class of 2020

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