Office of the President

Significant Change to Commencement

March 19, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

I am writing with a deep sense of shared disappointment regarding the need to re-think the format of our on-campus Commencement ceremony, which was scheduled for May 17. In order to assist all efforts underway to maintain the health and safety of all who would be involved in a gathering of more than 7,000 individuals, and based on public health experts here and at the Centers for Disease Control, we are canceling our traditional on-campus ceremonies and Commencement weekend.

As disappointing as I know this is to everyone, this difficult decision is the responsible thing to do as families need to plan their travel and accommodations, and there remains uncertainty about just when Covid-19 will plateau and recede here and across the country. We are now in the process of planning what will replace our scheduled Commencement ceremony, and we will share what that will look like as soon as possible.

Commencement is the one time each year when we gather to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of our students, acknowledge the results of the superb teaching and mentoring of our faculty, and to thank the families and friends of our graduates who have supported them through their Brandeis journey. We are committed to using our Brandeisian creativity to make our celebration as momentous and enjoyable as possible. 

We are now working on options for an alternative to the May 17 ceremony, and will provide updates as planning progresses.  We invite you to share your ideas for how we might reimagine the celebration. You can do that by completing the Commencement Ideas form here. Despite the change in plans, we look forward to a special ceremony to honor and recognize our 2020 graduates.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has put an unprecedented challenge before the Brandeis community, we should all take pride in how we have collectively risen to that challenge by supporting one another, showing compassion, and never losing sight of our scholarly mission despite completing the academic year in such a vastly different environment. This is the true embodiment of the Brandeisian spirit, for which I thank you again.


Ron Liebowitz