An Update on Commencement, Summer Courses, and Summer Events
Dear Seminary Community,
We are continuing to monitor the unfolding public health situation, and I have some important updates that will affect campus life over the coming months.
First, regretfully, we will not hold the commencement service in May. This was a very painful decision because this is a culminating moment for which our graduates have worked so hard, and it is one of our most sacred services of the academic year. Yet our first responsibility is the health of our community, family members and guests, and the wider public.
We will hold a postponed commencement celebration for the class of 2020 next year, May 10, 2021, in the Princeton University Chapel. We hope that as many graduates as possible will be able to return to campus to celebrate, and more details of the festivities will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, we will have other ways to celebrate the class of 2020, including a virtual senior banquet on April 27. The dean of student life and director of alumni relations will be in touch soon about this and other efforts to mark this momentous time of transition. Although we cannot gather in person, it does not change how proud we are of the graduates and how much we join with you in thanksgiving for God’s work in your life through your seminary experience. While it is coming to a different end than any of us imagined, that does not diminish your significant accomplishments we celebrate. Graduates will receive their diplomas by mail this May and will also receive refunds for the graduation fee.
Summer Events and Courses
Given the uncertainty of the public health crisis, we are also extending the cancellation of campus events through August 21. All conferences and events will be cancelled, postponed, or moved online. The Seminary will continue in our current state of partial campus closure, which affects employee schedules and remote work and closure of campus buildings, until at least May 1.
Summer language courses will also be held online. The Office of Digital Learning is working with faculty to design the online summer language program in a way that facilitates meaningful learning and community. These courses will follow a cohort model, and small groups will walk through the material together, including attending live web conferences, viewing recorded lectures, participating in virtual study groups, and joining cohort discussions. The registration deadline is June 1.
In many ways, this is a season of grief as all of us manage unexpected change and the loss of long-anticipated gatherings. It is a time of great uncertainty for so many, a season that acutely reminds us of the fragility of life. In this anxious time, we celebrate Holy Week and claim the central promise of our faith: that however painful the sting of death, darkness does not have the last word. In this holiest of weeks, may we turn our laments to God with prayers for the world that Christ died to save.
M. Craig Barnes