The following is a summary of the questions posed and answers provided during the April 29 Class of 2020 virtual town hall, organized and led by the Class Council. Most of the questions centered on Commencement. The following is a Q&A summary. Some updates have been made, as further information has become available since the April 29 meeting.
When will the Class of 2020’s Commencement be held?
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Westfield State University’s Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020—originally scheduled for May 14 (graduate) and May 16 (undergraduate) has been postponed to Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. It starts at 4 p.m.
Where will the 2020 Commencement ceremony be held?
The ceremony will be held again at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. Directions and parking information may be found on the MassMutual Center website.
Will there be a separate Commencement for graduate students?
No. This year, because of the pandemic, Westfield State will combine the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies into one event.
When and where can students pick up their caps and gowns as well as honors cords?
For our graduating students, caps and gowns will be available for order online through Barnes and Noble. Further details—including information about obtaining honors cords and tassels—will be added to the Commencement webpages, when available.
How many tickets will each student receive?
This is being discussed by the Commencement Planning Committee. We are sensitive to the fact that our students will want to have their families and friends join them at this special event, and we want to accommodate their requests. Because the ceremony will combine recognizing both undergraduates and graduates, we may have more people attending this event, and we want to be sensitive to any potential social distancing restrictions. We hope each student will be able to receive the same amount of tickets (four) as in past years. Please continue to check your email and the Commencement website for updates on this and other topics related to Commencement.
Where can students pick up tickets?
Please continue to check your email and the Commencement website for updates on this and other topics related to Commencement.
Will students be allowed to decorate their caps?
Will social distancing be part of the ceremony?
The Commencement Planning Committee will follow the directives set by Gov. Charlie Baker, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Higher Education to ensure the appropriate health and safety precautions are taken given the parameters that are in place in Massachusetts at that time. Please continue to check your email and the Commencement website for updates on this and other topics related to Commencement.
When will degrees be conferred?
Degrees will be conferred in May 2020 upon those students who have completed their degree requirements by May 11, 2020.
When will students receive their physical diplomas?
Following usual protocol, diplomas will be mailed by mid-July to students who have completed their degree requirements by May 11, 2020. Students completing their degree requirements over the summer are expected to receive their diploma in the mail in September. (Note: When students walk across the stage during any year’s Commencement ceremony, they are handed embossed folders without their actual diplomas.)
If I’m taking summer classes to complete my degree, when would I receive my degree?
You would receive your degree in September, if all credits and requirements are fulfilled.
Will the delay in holding the Commencement ceremony impact my admission to graduate programs?
No, it will not. The Registrar will have on record that you completed your undergraduate degree requirements and will forward your transcript as part of your graduate school application, upon request. The October 2020 Commencement ceremony will have no bearing on your graduate school admission.
How will the Commencement program process? Will graduate students receive their degrees first?
The Commencement Committee is discussing this. Please continue to check your email and the Commencement website for updates on this and other topics related to Commencement.
Will there be a Commencement keynote speaker or student speakers?
We anticipate the ceremony to be streamlined compared to the separate ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate commencements. However, plans are underway to host a formal ceremony that appropriately reflects the culmination of achieving one’s bachelor’s or master’s degree from Westfield State University. Details on the ceremony’s speaking program will be forthcoming.
Will our email addresses expire before October 2020?
Students will have access to their Westfield State University email accounts, as long as they continue to periodically update their passwords, when prompted by Westfield State Information Technology. (Please be cautious of potential spam messages; always double check the sender’s email address. Emails coming from @westfield.ma.edu are official Westfield State communications.) Graduating seniors will continue to receive emails related to Commencement. Please continue to check your email for updates during the upcoming months.
Will graduating students continue to receive support from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs through October 2020?
Yes. Academic and student affairs support will continue to be available to you. Please continue to check your email and the Commencement website for updates on this and other topics related to Commencement.