Update on May Commencements

April 14, 2020

Dear 2020 Mercer Graduates,

I had very much hoped that we would be able to hold our traditional commencement celebrations as scheduled. While we are making progress as a state working through this pandemic, it does not appear likely that we will have made sufficient progress by early May for these large gatherings of graduates, family, friends, and teachers to be either wise or perhaps even legally permissible.

It is important that the Mercer community gather as one to celebrate these important milestones in your lives. We celebrate not only your accomplishments, but also the cherished roles of members of your family, your friends, and your teachers. Commencement is an important confirmation of our value and heritage as a University. It is a reminder that, in the final analysis, we will measure the worth of what we do by your good work and by your labors, by the friends you make, the families you build, the values you embrace, the children you bear, the hope that you engender, and the legacy you will leave.

Therefore we must have commencement. And we must have it in a setting, and at a time, that allows those who have been a part of your success to participate through their presence.

  • For those of you graduating from the School of Law, the commencement celebration will be held on Friday, August 7, at 1 p.m. in Hawkins Arena on the Macon campus.
  • For those of you graduating from our programs in Macon other than law and medicine, the commencement celebration will be held on Saturday, August 8, in Hawkins Arena. We will announce the specific time in the next few weeks.
  • The traditional baccalaureate service will be held on Friday, August 7, at 6:00 p.m. in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus.
  • For those of you graduating from our programs in Atlanta, the commencement celebration will be held on Sunday, August 9, at 3:00 p.m. in the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett County.
  • The School of Medicine regrettably has no choice but to conduct its commencement ceremony virtually on its originally scheduled date of May 2, given that so many of its graduates are required to depart soon thereafter for residency programs around the country. I also regretfully acknowledge that no rescheduled date will work for everyone who would like to participate, which is among my greatest disappointments in these difficult circumstances.

Regardless of when your commencement celebration is held, you will graduate, earn your degrees and receive your diplomas consistent with academic standards – that means at the end of the terms in which all requirements are met. Your graduation will not be delayed by the rescheduling of our commencement celebrations. The Office of the Provost will communicate details about graduation, regalia, and commencement ceremonies in the coming days.

Despite this disappointing news, I want to congratulate you now on your impending graduation. It will be an important milestone in your lives. I very much look forward to congratulating you in a more formal and personal way in August. Thank you once again for your patience, your generosity of spirit, and your flexibility in the face of sometimes frustrating and difficult circumstances. I have never been more proud of our community. What I have witnessed over the past weeks has confirmed that Mercerians were indeed built for times like these.

Bill Underwood