| by Laurie Patton and Jeff Cason

Faculty, Staff, Students, Spring 2021

Please check our Commencement website for the latest information.

Dear Middlebury Community,

As we continue our spring semester planning, we are writing with some news about the Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, May 30. We do not have all of the details yet, but we wanted to provide you with as much information as we could so you may plan accordingly. 

First, it is our intention to hold Commencement ceremonies in person for graduating seniors studying on campus––to the greatest extent we are able to do so. While we cannot predict what COVID-19 guidelines will be in effect at that time, we do know already that it will be too early in Vermont’s COVID-19 recovery process to welcome people into our community on a large scale. As a result, we will not be able to welcome families, friends, faculty, or staff who are not part of the ceremony to join the celebration on campus. Unfortunately, this includes seniors who are studying remotely and students from other classes. We will, however, stream the events live so that all may celebrate with the class virtually.   

We know this news is yet another disappointment in a long list of pandemic-related losses, especially for families who have looked forward to this day for years. We have been looking forward to this moment too! The health and safety of our entire community is our highest priority, and we must abide by state and local guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, which include greatly limiting gathering sizes and visitors on campus. 

We are considering a number of possibilities for the in-person events, and we will communicate further details as soon as they are available. Our plans include reading the names of the graduates, distributing diploma cases and canes, and incorporating many other Middlebury traditions. 

We will continue to monitor conditions and keep you apprised should our plans need to change again. Please check our Commencement website for the latest information. We will do everything we can to have the fullest celebration possible.  

Class of 2020 Commencement

We also want to provide an update about our plans for celebrating the Class of 2020. As you will recall, we announced last spring that, if conditions permitted, we hoped to bring our graduating seniors back to campus for an in-person ceremony this coming spring. Unfortunately, the same conditions that prevent us from welcoming large numbers of people for the Class of 2021 also apply to welcoming back the Class of 2020. The pandemic continues to present challenges and restrictions for in-person gatherings of any kind, but especially for gatherings with guests who must travel from different states to Vermont.  

This pandemic has brought harsher conditions on a more long-term basis than any of us anticipated. We continue to think about all the ways we can bring together the Class of 2020 for Commencement and have not forgotten how important that ceremony will be. Please stay tuned. 

We very much look forward to the time when we are able to come together again safely, in the ways that we are accustomed to doing. When we do, it will be one of the largest, most meaningful Midd moments ever! Thank you, in the meantime, for your patience as we continue to plan for safe celebrations of these most significant milestones.


Laurie Patton


Jeff Cason