ITHACA, N.Y. –– Ithaca College announced that they would be canceling their in-person graduation ceremony for 2020.

The announcement, made on Monday in a letter to the campus community, comes after months of college leadership promising an in-person gathering.

“Although we remained hopeful, it is with a heavy heart that I share the decision that we will not be able to offer an on-campus Commencement weekend in August,” IC President Shirley Collado said in her email announcement Monday afternoon.

The college said they plan to shift to a “Commencement celebration for the Class of 2020 with three major components that we hope will be meaningful and exciting to our graduates and their families.”

The first part of the plan includes a virtual Commencement weekend on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2.

Second, a celebration box from the college will be mailed to graduates that includes their diploma and its cover. Graduates will also receive an email from Ithaca College “” with an electronic diploma. Additional information regarding electronic diplomas can be found here.

Lastly, the college is planning a gathering in person on South Hill over the weekend of June 25 to 27, 2021. The weekend is being marketed as Alumni Weekend, and Collado stated in her email that IC will be “planning a slate of events just for our Class of 2020” including the Senior Splash –– an event where graduating seniors have the opportunity to jump in the college’s fountains as a final celebration of their senior year.

To close out her message to the campus community Collado wrote, “I realize this is yet another twist in an already challenging time, and I want to thank you for your patience and understanding about our amended plans. We were all holding out hope that an August on-campus celebration could work, but as this public health crisis has evolved, and understanding Ithaca College’s absolute commitment to fully complying with the New York Forward reopening plan and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s strong leadership, it has become clear that we cannot responsibly bring a large group for an event like this back to our campus in August.”

Ithaca College announced in May that they plan to resume in-person learning in October.

Photos courtesy of Ithaca College.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at