Colgate Shifts 2021 Commencement Venue and Date

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Graduates in the Class of 2021 will be recognized and celebrated in-person at commencement, which will be held at Andy Kerr Stadium on Sunday, May 9, 2021.

The new May 9 date moves the ceremony up by one week, as commencement was originally slated for May 16. Plans for this in-person celebration at Andy Kerr Stadium provide ample space for all students in the class to participate in the ceremony with appropriate safety measures in place for physical distancing and face coverings in accordance with New York State guidance.

At the moment, New York State travel guidelines severely limit the possibility for accommodating guests. State and national guidelines do, however, remain fluid and ever-changing.

In light of this, Colgate will make a final determination about commencement guests on or about March 15. Families are discouraged from making nonrefundable travel arrangements until this detail is finalized.

Should there be inclement weather on the day of commencement, there will be no alternate indoor location, and the event will be held virtually. Whether in person or remote, Colgate will be providing live online video coverage of the ceremony for anyone who is unable to attend for any reason, and that YouTube live stream will be available on the homepage of

Ambassador Samantha Power, the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of global leadership and public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the William D. Zabel Professor of Practice in human rights at Harvard Law School, will deliver a prerecorded commencement address to the class. Power was recently nominated to be the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The University will also confer honorary degrees on Her Excellency Joyce Banda, former president of the Republic of Malawi and Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation, and Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

In Summary:

  • Commencement will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 9.
  • Commencement will be an in-person event for all students in the Class of 2021 who wish to participate.
  • Colgate is actively evaluating the feasibility of allowing guests on campus for commencement. 
  • A decision about guest attendance will be shared with the community on or about March 15.
  • Families are discouraged from making nonrefundable travel arrangements.
  • The event will be held at Andy Kerr Stadium to support physical distancing and to meet health requirements set forth by the state.
  • Inclement weather will move the ceremony online. There is no alternate indoor location.
  • Everyone will be able to watch the ceremony online via YouTube Live, whether guests are permitted on campus or not. 


Correction: 3/9/2021
This story originally indicated that Samantha Power would deliver a live address. Her comments will be prerecorded.