Message from Chancellor Sartarelli re Update: Commencement

Friday, March 20, 2020

2:43 p.m.

Dear Class of 2020 and Families:

This continues to be a tense time filled with many adjustments to life as we know it – personally, professionally and academically. My team and I are facing difficult decisions, as are our faculty and staff, that we could not have imagined when the semester began. As the leader of UNCW, I want to reassure you that we are not taking any of these decisions lightly. I had hoped to avoid the decision I’m sharing with you today, but based on the latest federal guidelines and considering how fluid the coronavirus situation is, I’m sorry to report that our May commencement ceremonies will need to be postponed.

We know how hard our spring grads have worked, and how much their families deserve to watch them walk across that stage. We understand how critical a milestone Commencement is for all of us, faculty and staff included. We are disappointed for you and with you. This morning we shared the news that our spring grads will receive their regalia. We are still working out that process, and you will get an email with more information next week. But we know that does not do much to soften this most unfortunate development.

Although no one can predict how the next couple of months will play out, given that conditions are changing daily, you have my commitment that we are considering all possible options in terms of spring commencement ceremonies. I can tell you this: Somehow, we will find a way for our spring graduates to celebrate this achievement. It is simply too soon to say, with any certainty, how that will be done. As the situation continues to evolve, we will share details about the revised plan. Know that this is a priority for us and we will continue to work hard for all of you.

In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to reassure you that we will continue to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of our employees and our students. I wish you safety and wellness as we navigate this situation together, as Seahawks and as people. I thank you for your patience and understanding as our employees work hard to bring you the best possible remainder of the semester, under these terrible circumstances.


Jose V. Sartarelli
Chancellor, UNCW