March 31, 2020
News Desk

Open Letter from CCRI President: 2020 Commencement Canceled

College will work hard to find a way to celebrate the Class of 2020 at a later date.

Posted

The following is an open letter to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) students, faculty and families:

Dear CCRI community,

"As we approach the end of our first day of remote teaching and learning, I wanted to write to say thank you and to share some important college updates. None of us ever expected to be where we are today, and I continue to marvel at the speed at which we have all needed to adapt. Last week the entire faculty and staff of this college worked together to prepare for today, and students, today many of you began class in a way you have never experienced before. I have never seen an undertaking like this one, with hundreds of people working together to make it happen, and I am so very grateful. While there surely will be challenges still to be faced, today is historic, and together you made it happen.

You will remember that on March 11, we announced that we were moving to a remote teaching format until at least April 3. Today, I want to share with you, as I already shared with our faculty earlier today, how the college will move forward for the remainder of the semester, which is scheduled to end May 8. In acting now, we hope to allow you as much time as possible to prepare.

In the interest of the health and well being of our community, we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to continue with remote learning for the remainder of the semester. This decision was not made lightly, and was grounded in our priority to protect the health and well-being of our students and employees, and by the guidance from our public health officials and government leaders.

Given the ongoing uncertainty of how this pandemic will continue to affect our lives, we have also made the difficult decision to cancel our commencement ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center this May. I love our graduation. I love watching our graduates, their families, and so many of us all coming together in one big space to celebrate. I love the spirit, the energy, the optimism, and the faith it gives me every year in what education creates.

To our students, commencement is a powerful symbol of your achievement, and I know how much walking across that stage to receive your diploma means to you and your family. It also means so much to the faculty and staff at the college to celebrate you. Although we won’t be coming together at the Dunk, the college will work hard to find a way to celebrate the Class of 2020 at a later date.

All of our lives have been upended by COVID-19, and we will all be balancing competing demands for some time to come. We will be learning how to work, teach and learn remotely, and fulfilling college responsibilities through new modes, while attending to the care of our families, neighbors and friends. Let us continue to face this challenge with the same compassion and kindness we have seen demonstrated so beautifully by all of you.

Please take good care of yourselves and your families, and please continue to monitor your CCRI email and the COVID-19 section of our website, where we will regularly share critical information and resources.

CCRI is more than a place of learning. We are a community of families, friends and neighbors. Now, more than ever before in our history, we need to stand together as a community. As we embark together on a new way of teaching, learning and working, I know we will all rise to the challenge, and that, together, we are unstoppable."

Most sincerely yours,

Meghan Hughes

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