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St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure postpones rescheduled 2020 Commencement, Family Weekend

Jul 22, 2020 |

St. Bonaventure University has been forced to postpone Family Weekend and the Class of 2020’s rescheduled commencement ceremony.

Several factors contributed to the decisions, said Tom Missel, chief communications officer.

“With significant social distancing and crowd-gathering restrictions still in place, and strict limits we’ve put in place prohibiting almost all visitors to campus, our hands were tied,” Missel said.

When the university announced on its virtual graduation ceremony in May that an in-person weekend celebration would be held Oct. 10-11, “we were optimistic then that we’d be able to resume large gatherings in the fall,” Missel said.

“That was the perfect weekend because it was fall break and the campus would have been virtually empty to welcome graduates and their parents back to campus.”

However, the university had to eliminate its Oct. 10-13 mid-term break when it amended its fall academic calendar to start classes a week early and to finish in-person instruction by Thanksgiving.

“I am still committed to my promise of offering the Class of 2020 an opportunity to return to campus to celebrate their graduation,” said Dr. Dennis DePerro, university president. “Hopefully we can reschedule for the spring, but given the continued uncertainty related to the pandemic, it’s just not prudent to commit to a specific date until we know for sure we can conduct a safe and meaningful event.”

To maximize safety for the campus community once classes begin Aug. 24, the university has also put strict restrictions on visitation for the fall semester.

The only visitors allowed on campus are current and prospective students, university employees, parents and families during move-in and move-out periods, essential vendors and business partners, delivery drivers, community members with P.O. boxes at the campus’ U.S. Post Office, and people using the spur of the Recreation Trail that winds through campus.

Family Weekend, which was scheduled for Sept. 26-27, could take place in the spring semester if conditions warrant, but just like the rescheduled graduation ceremony, “it doesn’t make much sense for us to commit to a date given the uncertainty,” Missel said.

Other than some student-specific programming, no events will be held on campus, including at the Quick Center for the Arts, during the fall semester.

“It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the pandemic, losing so many events that attract people from all over the region, but our top priority this fall is the health and safety of our students and employees,” DePerro said.

Fans won’t be allowed at fall collegiate sports contests in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

Atlantic 10 Conference and institutional leaders have postponed fall sports, but agreed to a “look-in window” in mid-September, allowing for a potentially truncated competitive schedule amongst conference opponents if the COVID-19 risk has substantially been reduced.