Commencement 2020 celebration launches with president's message

Commencement 2020 celebration launches with president's message


On Saturday, May 16, SUNY Cortland’s Park Center, the traditional location for the Commencement 2020 ceremony originally scheduled for that day, was empty and quiet.

But that didn't stop President Erik J. Bitterbaum from congratulating the Class of 2020, praising their perseverance and encouraging them to achieve great things. His video graduation message went live on SUNY Cortland’s Commencement page Saturday morning.

The posting of the president’s message officially began an online celebration that will culminate May 26-29 with a host of interactive activities, video presentations and contests featured on a Class of 2020 celebration webpage that will launch Tuesday, May 26.

Between now and May 26, degree candidates and their families are encouraged to download and print SUNY Cortland’s Class of 2020 lawn sign and begin using virtual background images and Red Dragon GIFs available on the university’s new Commencement graphics page. 

Students can submit a photo and special person designation through the Commencement tab in MyRedDragon to be included with their name on a searchable roll of 2020 degree candidates. They also are welcome to begin preparing for daily opportunities to win Cortland swag by decorating a cap or banner or searching their photos for images to share. They can highlight their campus places, celebrations, accomplishments and student’s transformation from first year to final year.

Information on these and other initiatives are available here. The opportunities will be explained in further detail in messages sent during the days leading up to May 26-29.  

Prospective graduates aren’t the only ones with things to do. Friends, family, faculty, staff, students and alumni are all encouraged to share messages, photos or videos of congratulations and encouragement to the Class of 2020 through social media by using the hashtag #Cortlandcongrats. They will be shared on the celebration page starting May 26.

“None of this is intended to replace the traditional experience of walking across the stage before friends and family in recognition of our student’s hard work and achievement,” Bitterbaum said. “Members of the Class of 2020 will have their own ceremony on campus next spring, but we don’t want this extraordinary milestone to pass unnoticed.”

A rescheduled Commencement will be held specifically for the Class of 2020 in May 2021. The exact nature and date of the ceremony will be determined based upon the number of students who plan to return to campus. SUNY Cortland will send a survey to students who have applied for a degree by the end of May.

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