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Syracuse University cancels May commencement ceremony

By Eric Reinhardt (


Syracuse University on Monday cancelled its commencement and convocation ceremonies in May in response to the coronavirus health emergency. Syracuse had planned to hold the graduation on the Quad (a portion of which is seen here) due to the roof-replacement work in the Carrier Dome, where graduation is normally held. (Photo credit:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University (SU) has canceled in-person commencement and related convocation ceremonies in May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The university will also continue with online-only instruction for the rest of the spring semester, calling the decision to suspend residential instruction “difficult but necessary.”  It’s in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

At the same time, Syracuse will also provide a prorated reimbursement of room and board payments to students who vacate university housing.

“To do so is right and appropriate. We have developed a process for students and families to request room and board refunds,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a message to the campus community that the school posted Monday on its news website.


SU Class of 2020 survey

In his message, Syverud indicated school officials had “held out hope” that commencement could proceed as planned on the school’s Quad.

“I deeply regret this outcome,” Syverud wrote.

The event is normally held in the Carrier Dome, but the facility is undergoing renovation work for a new roof.

SU will send all members of Syracuse’s class of 2020 a survey to solicit “alternative approaches to celebrating and recognizing” their graduation.

“I am committed to celebrating and recognizing the class of 2020 in a way that is most meaningful to you — our graduates. I promised you would have the celebration you deserve and we will make good on that promise,” Syverud wrote. “We will act quickly on your feedback and share a plan for alternative commencement celebrations promptly.”

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