A version of this message was also sent to graduate students who completed their degrees this spring, as well as graduate and undergraduate students who have applied to graduate this fall.
Congratulations once again on your graduation at this historic moment. You should have received a special gift in the mail from us, and I hope it serves as a reminder of how proud everyone at the University of Tennessee is of your success.
While we had hoped to celebrate with you in person this August, it has become clear that gathering together would not be in the interest of your health and safety as well as that of your family and the broader community. I know this is a disappointment, and it’s one that I share.
Public health experts continue to caution communities against mass gatherings, and we do not expect this to change in the near future. While we are following expert guidance to make changes that will allow us to bring some activities back to campus this fall, we are not yet able to hold an event of this size in a way that would offer a meaningful celebration of your accomplishments.
This in no way diminishes your achievement or our commitment to seeing you cross the stage and turn your tassel. We do not yet know how the spread of the coronavirus in the coming months will impact our ability to hold a commencement at the end of fall semester, but we continue to explore options for a ceremony both this fall and in spring 2021.
We will continue to keep in touch about our plans as we look forward to a time when we can come together in celebration.