President’s message regarding Spring 2020 Commencement

President’s message regarding Spring 2020 Commencement


The following message was sent on behalf of SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum:

As the normal routines and expectations of all of our lives continue to be upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had to make difficult decisions that impact our students, their families, our faculty and staff. You have all made sacrifices. I thank you, and it pains me to have to ask yet another sacrifice of the SUNY Cortland community.

Given the ongoing threat posed by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Spring 2020 Commencement will be postponed.  Given the constantly evolving situation, no date has yet been set. As further details develop, we will share them with the SUNY Cortland community. You can check for updates on our COVID-19 resource page as well as our Commencement page.

I understand the great disappointment students who worked so hard for this special day must feel. But as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the guidance of federal, state and local health officials is clear: an event that brings thousands of people to campus from across the country would be dangerous, irresponsible and simply cannot be allowed at this time.

Seniors and graduate students who have fulfilled all requirements for graduation will receive their diplomas by mail, as is usually done. No disease can diminish your accomplishment, and I am proud of you all.

Commencement is a cherished tradition that I and our faculty look forward to every year. Please understand that we will do everything we can to give you and your family an opportunity to celebrate your hard-earned success as soon as it can be done safely.

Thank you for your cooperation during this extremely difficult time.  Please stay safe.

All the best,


Erik J. Bitterbaum


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President Erik J. Bitterbaum tells students and families that SUNY Cortland hopes to restart on campus in late August.

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The video's release marked the start of a virtual celebration that will run through May 29.