Update From Colgate University for the Hamilton Community

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Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

I write today with updates on Commencement 2021, taking place this weekend, and a look ahead to the fall.

This afternoon, President Brian W. Casey sent a video message to members of the senior class and guests who have registered to participate in commencement events. He addressed his message to you as well, so I am including it here with his best wishes.

As President Casey notes, the University has conducted extensive planning in conjunction with the village, Madison County, and the State of New York to ensure that our traditions continue as safely as possible.

Seniors have been limited to two commencement guests each. These guests will be checking in on Saturday, providing us with proof of vaccination, a recent negative test, or recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days. Our ceremony will take place at Andy Kerr Stadium, where open air and physical distancing will further help us in promoting the safety of our community.

Other commencement traditions also continue, though changed for the times. Our torchlight procession has been reconfigured to prevent crowding along the route, and we have asked all attendees to disperse quickly when the festivities conclude. The annual baccalaureate ceremony will be fully virtual.

You can see our guest policy and public health guidelines on our website. While you are online, you will also be able to review our Health Analytics Team dashboard, which shows that positive cases on campus have been reduced to a single student and single employee. While our surveillance testing program has ended for the year, we are testing all non-vaccinated students and employees who plan to be present for commencement activities.

As we celebrate the safe and successful completion of a full academic year in person, we are already looking ahead to fall 2021. This morning, Dr. Merrill Miller, university physician and director of student health services, sent a message to the Colgate community, announcing that all students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, beginning with those who will be on campus for summer work as of May 17. Planning is underway to require vaccination for staff and faculty as well. Knowing that some of our students will not have had access to vaccine for any number of reasons, we will offer clinics during each of our arrival days between May and August.

Colgate’s decision, which is in accordance with a recent recommendation from the American College Health Association, is based on unequivocal data demonstrating that COVID-19 vaccines save lives. Vaccination is one of the best ways to end this pandemic, and we have already made great strides. Two-thirds of students and employees report that they are already fully vaccinated or are in the process of completing their vaccination series. 

Given these developments, we look forward to Commencement 2021 with excitement and to fall 2021 with great hope. Thank you for being part of our successful year, for your support and encouragement, and for being such an important part of Colgate Together. 


Laura H. Jack
Vice President for Communications