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Mar. 12, 2020 – A message to graduating students

Posted by on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear graduating students, the Class of 2020,

This spring, your last semester on our campus, is a time I know you and your families have been anticipating for many years. For some, you will be earning your undergraduate degrees; for others, this will mark the culmination of your graduate and professional degrees. For all of you, though, I am fully aware that our actions to prevent COVID-19 spread have caused a disruption in this special semester as well as anxiety and concern. I am as heartbroken as you are that your final months at Vanderbilt, and multiple opportunities to celebrate your crowning achievements, are being impacted by this global crisis.

I know that many of you have successfully navigated challenging situations in the past, and while this one is certainly both historic and unique, I am confident that we will be a resilient community and that each of you will not only persevere, but learn from this experience. Indeed, we all will learn much from this extraordinary challenge.

Though we have suspended university events through April 30, at this time we currently plan to hold Commencement on May 8. We expect to make further decisions in mid-April. We will continue to evaluate the situation and keep you directly informed of any changes. We also will include any updates on the Commencement website. Our No. 1 priority is always the health and safety of every member of our Vanderbilt community.

In the meantime, I encourage you to remain focused on a strong finish to your studies. Our faculty and staff are working around the clock to put in place alternative learning strategies to ensure your ability to complete your work and meet your academic goals. Further, our campus resources are mobilizing to continue providing support remotely—the Career Center and the University Counseling Center are two examples of these efforts.

It is my utmost wish that you remain connected with your advisers, your friends and your classmates. Remain steadfast, as I am, in the knowledge that your Vanderbilt education and the relationships you made, the learning you achieved and the experiences you had during your time here on campus—including this final semester—will serve you well in the years to come. You are “Vanderbilt for Life.”

With respect and admiration,

Susan R. Wente
Interim Chancellor and Provost