College to host two commencement ceremonies in May 2022

By Charlie Keohane

NIck Garber
Middlebury will hold two commencement ceremonies this May, one for the class of 2022 and one for the class of 2020.

Middlebury will hold commencement ceremonies for both the class of 2022 and the class of 2020 this upcoming May.

Graduates from the class of 2020 will return for an in-person commencement after their initial graduation ceremony in spring 2020 was moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of the class of 2020.5, who were given an impromptu Feb graduation in Nov. 2020 after new Covid-19 gathering restrictions were put in place by the Vermont government, will be invited to join as well. 

The class of 2022 will celebrate commencement on Sunday, May 29, while the classes of 2020 and 2020.5 will commence the following Tuesday, May 31. There will be two commencement speakers — one for the class of 2022, who has yet to be announced. Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, is slated to speak at the ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2020.5. 

There is some confusion over why the make-up commencement will be on a Tuesday, two days after the ceremony for the class of 2022. A significant consideration for the ceremony being on Tuesday was consideration for staff, according to Jennifer Erwin, Director of Event Management.

“Even in a normal year, [staff] work overtime during the month of June to prepare for the annual spring and summer campus events such as Reunion and the summer sessions of Bread Loaf and the Language Schools,” Erwin said in an email to The Campus.

According to Erwin, the college will provide support for travel assistance, and more information will be released when available. There are also discussions underway regarding where to house members of the class of 2020(.5), with details likely to be available later in the fall.

Marisa Edmondson 20 is planning to return to campus for graduation, but is frustrated with the lack of communication surrounding senior week activities and housing. 

“Even if only half the class comes back, that’s still 300+ kids and their families. There aren’t enough places to stay,” Edmondson said. “I do feel like the college kind of forgot about us and has done a bad job at communicating with us about our belated ceremony.”

Abby Okin 20 also plans on attending commencement. 

“I want to go because I never really got to say goodbye to that part of my life,” Okin said. “It’s strange to live somewhere for four years and build a life there and then have to leave abruptly.”

Erwin said she is excited to welcome the classes of 2020 and 2020.5 back to campus. 

“We felt that hosting graduation as a short extension of the Memorial Day weekend, and giving notice a year in advance, was a way we could fulfill our promise to our students and to show staff the care and respect that our students themselves would want,” Erwin said. 

Edmondson hopes that the commencement ceremony will bring a sense of closure after a chaotic end to her on-campus senior year in March 2020. She also added that due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, she has not been able to see many of her classmates since their early departure from campus. 

“I am excited to be able to celebrate with my friends and be back in Vermont,” Edmondson said, “And I know my parents and family are excited to actually see me in a cap and gown walking across the stage.”