April 7: Commencement Update

Dear College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Community:

We hope this email finds you doing well in this unusual time. Please know that we think of you often and miss your joyful presence on our campuses.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a worldwide impact on virtually every aspect of daily life, and the timeframe for mandated social distancing and limitations on large-group gatherings continues to be extended through the spring and into the summer.

Throughout our response to COVID-19 at CSB/SJU, we have continued to plan for commencement, knowing that it is an important milestone in the lives of our students and their family members. We deeply value this opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all those who have fulfilled the requirements for their degree.

As it became clear that the previously scheduled in-person commencement ceremonies in May would not be possible, we solicited feedback from a representative group of CSB and SJU seniors about how to proceed. The strong preference from student leaders has been for an in-person celebration – even if postponed – which is our preference as well.

In light of the current pandemic, we have decided to postpone the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University commencement ceremonies previously scheduled for May 2020. Instead, we will try to schedule commencement weekend activities during the summer, contingent upon approval and acceptability of such events by the state and local health authorities. We will notify students of a rescheduled commencement date no later than May 15.

We want to do everything possible to support a wonderful commencement experience for each of our graduates. In setting a future date, we will seek to give graduates and their families enough time to plan for gathering and celebrating in person. However, we have discussed the fact that for some people, the expense associated with returning to Central Minnesota at any time may be a challenge. When a date for commencement is selected, we will work to determine if we might find a way to help relieve the burden of this for at least some students. We will provide more information about this in the coming weeks.

We are very sorry that we must postpone commencement this year. Thank you for your patience and understanding. And, know that those students who have met the requirements of their degree will receive their diplomas in the mail and be welcomed as full members of the CSB/SJU alumnae/i family.

President Mary Dana Hinton, College of Saint Benedict

Interim President Eugene McAllister, Saint John’s University