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Update on Rescheduled Commencement

Posted by:
July 17, 2020

To: Class of 2020 and graduating students
From: Office of the President

Dear graduates,

This spring, as the impacts of COVID-19 were just beginning to be understood, we announced that we would be unable to host our commencement event at the Tacoma Dome. After hearing from many of you about your desire to celebrate together in person, we also shared our plan to hold commencement on campus during Labor Day weekend, pending public-health directives. Lutes, we are disappointed and sad to announce that the status of the pandemic and current public health directives preclude us from hosting the Labor Day weekend event as planned.

Please know we have explored every possible way—including in coordination with the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department—to follow through with the September 5th event. Unfortunately, the size of the graduating class far exceeds what Pierce County permits for in-person gatherings at this time—even if we were to exclude the guests, faculty members, and others who make such a ceremony meaningful.

When surveyed for preferences, the Class of 2020 overwhelmingly indicated a desire for an in-person commencement ceremony. This is why we indicated in our original message that, should we be prevented from celebrating together on September 5th, our back-up plan would be to celebrate the Class of 2020 along with the Class of 2021 next spring. We remain committed to following through with that plan. Please mark your calendars now for Saturday, May 29th, 2021. Details will follow in the new year.

We know this decision may not come as a surprise to those who have been following the global progression of the virus, our understanding of how it is transmitted, and the related local/state restrictions on gatherings, and we recognize that this will feel like another loss for you. We are so, so sorry.

While nothing can truly demonstrate how deeply the people at this university care for you, we hope that the personal phone call from PLU faculty or staff members, the virtual LuteBox sent to each graduate, and the tribute videos from faculty and fellow graduates demonstrated that to you. Expect a physical package with your diploma cover and PLU swag to arrive at your address at the beginning of September. (Please make sure your mailing address is accurate by filling out the New Alumni Survey.)

And although we have not yet formally celebrated you, we hope you know that you are now a PLU alum! As an alumnus, you join a family 40,000 strong—all Lutes who are out in the world living their unique lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care.

More practically, as an alum of PLU you have access to career resources for life. These include:

  • Virtual career-advising appointments, cover letter and résumé reviews, mock interviews, job-search tools, advice and much more. You can find more information about these services on the Alumni & Student Connections page, here.
  • A group of PLU alumni are calling every new graduate this summer to welcome you to the alumni family, help you with your post-PLU plans, and offer their support and encouragement on your new adventures.
  • To further benefit from our alumni network, make sure you sign up for LuteLink, where you can connect with PLU alumni who are eager to meet you and provide specialized career insights, résumé feedback, interview tips, and more. Creating an account is easy and only takes a moment!

We are grieving the loss of the community rituals that these decisions represent, but we are committed to celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2020.

We continue to be so proud of you, Lutes!

Allan Belton

Joanna Gregson

Dan Lee
Vice President for University Relations

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life