Virtual Commencement: Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 10:00 am EDT

Dear Class of 2020 and Families,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our most recent survey. Thanks as well to those of you who wrote to us with your preferences, opinions, and ideas. And thanks most of all to you—the Class of 2020—for conferring and collaborating with Ms. Creagh and me throughout these months as we have sought to recognize, celebrate, and bring your class together.

Since April, when we realized an on-campus spring Commencement would not be possible as scheduled, we have, together, established three priorities. First, we want a Commencement that will be as inclusive as possible, ensuring that all members of 2020 and their families are able to attend. Second, we want to provide closure and a sense of completion to an exceptionally challenging final term. Third, we want to bring you back to campus to celebrate properly here—regardless of when that will be. Designing an event that significantly increases the chances of everyone being together is more important, we believe, than the timing of that event.

To achieve these goals, we’ve consulted broadly with others schools and our student leadership, we’ve thought creatively, and we’ve monitored health and safety guidance judiciously—including the High School Graduation Guidelines issued by the State of Massachusetts and the concerns of local health officials. These efforts have led us to believe that we can best achieve our three goals by holding a Virtual Commencement online on August 9 and our first-ever “One-Year Reunion” for the Class of 2020 from June 25 – 27, 2021.

I know this will be welcome news to some and unwelcome news to others. We hope that you find some solace in knowing that this decision offers the greatest chance for every graduate to be together again—at the same time and in the same special place. And, I hope all will agree that the One-Year Reunion will offer the opportunities for friendship, celebration, and community that have eluded us this spring and summer—and that would not be possible under the Massachusetts guidelines, were we to hold Commencement on campus this summer.

Now, we are excited to celebrate you with a Deerfield-style virtual Commencement! You will receive more information about it in the days to come, and we look forward to working with members of your class to plan and design this event as well as next summer’s Reunion. To help prepare for August 9, we are going to mail your diplomas to you; needless to say, they are important—and beautiful—documents, and we want to make sure they reach you wherever you may be this summer. To that end, please tell us to what address your diploma should be sent by filling out this form (online) by Sunday, July 5. Later in the academic year, we’ll share details about your One-Year Reunion. For now, thank you for your input, your patience, and your continued good will. These have been—and will continue to be—invaluable.

With warm regards,

John Austin