Graduation will be August 15, 2020 in Potsdam

Faculty and Staff,
The following message has been sent to the Class of 2020 regarding their graduation ceremony.

Class of 2020 Graduates

Thank you to members of the 2020 graduated senior class who completed the survey and to those who zoomed together on Monday evening to discuss celebrating your graduation and how to best recognize your achievements.

Based on this session and the results of the survey among your classmates, we are going to proceed with planning to hold an in-person ceremony(ies*) in Potsdam on Saturday, August 15, 2020 and will also virtually broadcast the event.  New 2020 alumni who want to join another ceremony will continue to have that option (October 10 in Schenectady, Tuesday, November 24 in Potsdam, or a May 2021 ceremony in Potsdam.)

In line with NYS graduation guidelines issued this week, over the next two months, we will be making plans that meet current and future guidance scenarios outlined by New York State for this date.  While we hope NYS guidelines evolve to offer graduation in one ceremony, we will be coordinating with local public health officials to get ready to host the maximum number of people in an appropriate venue and allowed to participate in the ceremony or multiple ceremonies on that date to ensure everyone’s safety –for your safety and those you care about in your family and those who have been in service to you who want to mark this occasion with you.  Please currently hold 11am to 7pm for options that may need to take place if we cannot do everyone at 2pm.    

We will be working with all of you to determine that if we need to go to a few smaller ceremonies on that date, on how those should be assigned to be the best healthwise, and we will also be working with the class leadership on offering some of the traditional senior day activities in the region off campus that coincide with the weekend. The overall priority expressed in  our meeting was to find time for classmates to reconnect after the abrupt change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on survey responses and commentary to ensure safety, members of the class of 2020 traveling in for the ceremony will have a process to request to redeem up to two hotel nights (or camp sites) for you in the North Country valued up to $150 per night if you need to stay beyond driving to/from the ceremony.  A list of hotels holding rooms for “Clarkson graduation” across the region including great recreation spots in Alexandria Bay, Potsdam, and Malone for example will be coming out next week along with the process steps.  

The interim guidance from NYS on graduations requires these to be outside, so we are currently planning to bring a stage and seating to the Hamlin-Powers lawn. With the exception of access to designated restrooms, all other Clarkson facilities will be closed.   We appreciate your understanding of the fluid nature of the reopening process through Forward New York and in working with restaurants/venues and together we are committed to offering a memorable experience for all graduates who participate.  We ask that all graduates and families hold the day and be ready to further respond further as details emerge.

We are looking for class members to volunteer to initiate activities in the region for typical senior day events like the Order of Engineer, Phalanx tapping and other events we wish to prioritize in the short period we will be together. Reply to this email at to share interest. We will use your Clarkson emails on the list  “Class_of_2020” to continue our preparations and communications.  

If you plan to participate in the Commencement ceremony or you would like your regalia as a momento, remember to reorder by June 29. All regalia orders placed before COVID were cancelled and will need to be reordered. Jostens adjusted their website giving all graduates the option of shipping the regalia to Clarkson for pick-up or having it shipped directly to your home when you reorder. 

We send our well wishes on your continued safety, wellness and pursuit of what’s next.   

Owen Ukleya ’20

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