Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
March 26, 2020

Follow-up On Commencement

Dear CMU Students,

I am writing today to follow up on my letter about the 2020 Commencement on the Pittsburgh campus and to address some of the questions we have received about our specific plans. There are three main points to clarify:

  • First, the Commencement exercises planned for Sunday, May 17 are being postponed due to specific guidance from the CDC not to host large events as a public health precaution. Given these guidelines and local government directives, we wanted to give graduating students and their families enough time to adjust their travel plans.
  • Second, CMU is committed to bringing the Class of 2020 together for an in-person Commencement celebration on campus, in the next academic year. This celebration will include key elements of Carnegie Mellon’s Commencement tradition, such as college and department diploma ceremonies, as well as the doctoral hooding. We will announce details about the on-campus Commencement, including the date, as soon as the current crisis subsides and campus operations return to normal. In the meantime, we welcome ideas from graduating students as we design this event. Please send your ideas to us at
  • Finally, CMU will be hosting a brief online program to virtually confer degrees at the end of the semester. We are hosting this conferral at that time because we want to recognize you and your accomplishments at CMU as you complete your degrees. We look forward to sharing details about how to participate in that event as they are developed. Please also know that diplomas will be mailed to graduates.

I hope this sheds some light on the scope of our plans moving forward. I also invite you to visit our Commencement website for information about these programs as they develop.

Commencement is a moment unique in your lives and in the lives of your families. It is also one of CMU’s most treasured traditions. On behalf of all of my colleagues, I am really looking forward to leveraging our community’s trademark creativity to mark this special occasion in ways appropriate for this year’s extraordinary circumstances and befitting all your accomplishments.

This crisis has profoundly and rapidly changed all of our lives, but I remain inspired by your spirit of determination and resilience. When we continue to come together as a CMU community, I know we can get through it and emerge stronger as a result.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair