Members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 planning to attend the ceremonies to take place May 13-15, 2021 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts will be required to confirm their attendance by completing and submitting the below RSVP by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Only those graduates who complete the online RSVP form by the April 13 deadline will be permitted to attend Commencement.RSVP*
I am pleased to share an update on Westfield State’s plans for this year’s Commencement exercises, where the undergraduate and graduate Classes of 2021 and 2020 will be honored.
At this time, we are working with the staff at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on plans to hold multiple, smaller events in adherence with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the MassMutual Center.
Westfield State remains committed to hosting high-quality, commemorative and memorable events, while following COVID-inspired restrictions to best maintain the health and safety of everyone in attendance. Two class officers from the Class of 2021 have been part of the planning team, while the Student Government Association and the Class of 2020 Class Officers have been kept updated.
Following those restrictions, the University plans to host up to four ceremonies for the undergraduate Class of 2021; two for the undergraduate Class of 2020; and one ceremony for the graduate Classes of 2021 and 2020. These events will take place Thursday, May 13; Friday, May 14; and Saturday, May 15. Because each event will be contingent on the number of graduates who plan to participate, the specific sequencing of events will be finalized following the graduates’ RSVPs (see RSVP section below). A finalized schedule of ceremonies to take place May 13-15, 2021 will be set and communicated by April 16.
Each graduate will be allowed two guests. Note that out-of-state guests traveling to Massachusetts for the ceremony should follow and comply with the state’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Faculty and staff guests will be limited at all events. All ceremonies will be streamed live and viewable through a link posted on the University website.
Each ceremony will focus on the conferring of the degrees and the graduates being able to “walk across the stage.” The speaking programs may need to be abbreviated and other ceremonial formalities, including the processional of graduates into the MassMutual arena, may not be possible. In addition to graduates providing an online RSVP, tickets for graduates and guests will be secured online. Each graduate’s two guests will be assigned specific seats, safely distanced from other family groups in the arena.
Undergraduates and graduates will receive specific instructions on how to RSVP online beginning April 1. RSVPs for those planning to attend the ceremonies will be required by Tuesday, April 13. RSVP instructions will be shared on April 1 by email to the Class of 2021 and by letter to all graduates of Class of 2020 or 2021 who have already been awarded their degrees. The RSVPs will be critical to the University event planners to set and communicate the finalized schedule of ceremonies by Friday, April 16. All undergraduates who completed and were awarded their degrees before September 2020 will be eligible to participate in the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremonies, while undergraduates who completed and were awarded their degrees after September 2020 will be eligible to participate in the Class of 2021 Commencement ceremonies. The graduate Commencement ceremony will be held for graduate students from both the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Please continue to reference www.westfield.ma.edu/commencement for the most up-to-date information. The bookstore will soon re-open the online purchase option for caps and gowns.
Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, contingency plans are also in development. If the status of the spread of COVID-19 changes drastically, prohibiting us from holding the Commencement ceremonies in this fashion, we are prepared to host several events May 13-15, 2021 in a drive-in format in Westfield State’s South Lot located off of Western Avenue.
We greatly appreciate your patience and we look forward to celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of all our deserving graduates in mid-May.
Please stay safe and be well,
Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D.
Westfield State University