2021 Commencement and Reunions

To the Dartmouth community,

As we look ahead to spring term, I'm writing to share some updates with respect to commencement and reunions, two of our most cherished Dartmouth traditions and ones that I know are sacred to all of us.

Earlier today, I communicated to members of the Class of 2021 – both undergraduates and graduate and professional school students – that our current intent is to host an in-person, on-campus ceremony for our 2021 graduates the week of June 6, following the end of the undergraduate final exam period for spring term.

Given that most graduating students are scheduled to be on campus this spring and will be subject to twice-weekly COVID testing, we believe we can successfully and safely host an event that will allow our '21s to come together as a class and celebrate the culmination of their Dartmouth education and experience together. Graduating students who are studying off-campus may attend virtually or in person, provided that they meet specific quarantine and testing requirements prior to in-person participation.  While this plan can and may change, we remain hopeful that we will be able to make this happen for all our graduates. Plans for the various graduate and professional school investiture ceremonies will be communicated by the respective Deans.

Unfortunately, continued travel and quarantine restrictions, together with the lack of global availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, mean that any in-person celebrations will be limited to graduating students only; the celebrations will be streamed live for family and guests.

Final decisions pertaining to these events, including the precise June dates on which they will occur, will be made by the end of March, at which time we will share more details about the ceremonies and related activities. Decisions will be based on the latest public health data and College and state guidelines concerning public and private gatherings. In the meantime, you can find the latest commencement information at https://www.dartmouth.edu/commence/.

In light of public health circumstances, we've also made the difficult decision that all 2021 reunion events will be held virtually this year. I know how disappointing this is for all of our 2021 reunion classes, as well as those in our 2020 reunion classes who had hoped to return to campus this summer. 

Our Alumni Relations team is preparing to work with the various reunion volunteers to put together a robust slate of virtual reunion programming for our 2021 reunion classes to enjoy.  In addition, our Commencement Committee is already hard at work finding creative ways to maintain the special connection between our 50th reunion class and our graduating seniors as part of the Class of 2021's celebration this June. The 2020 reunion classes will celebrate their next reunion on campus in 2025.

None of these decisions come without heartbreak – for our students and their families, for our alumni, and for those of us in senior leadership who are faced with having to make them. But it is our collective resolve to prioritize the health and safety of our community and our belief in the enduring nature of the Dartmouth fellowship that continues to strengthen our bonds, even in the midst of distance and disappointment.

I look forward to the day when the pandemic is far behind us and we can assemble when we want, where we want, and in each other's good company safely once again.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and for your understanding and support.


Philip J. Hanlon '77