Boston Conservatory at Berklee Commencement
Saturday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m.
March 31, 2020
Dear members of the Berklee community,
We hope you are doing well as we continue into our second week of remote teaching and learning. We’ve heard from you about the successes and struggles of adapting to this new environment, the creative ways you’re engaging your peers and communities, and possibly most of all, we’ve heard questions about commencement.
As a culminating event for graduating students, commencement is an incomparable milestone. It captures the spirit of our community, bringing students, their families, and their faculty together to celebrate achievement, hard work, and artistry. For both of us, it is often the most exciting and emotional time of the year. We love to see you and your families together as you mark this momentous transition, and though we are sad to see you go, we are so proud of you, and know you’ll go on to make incredible contributions in the worlds of music, dance, and theater.
After exploring possible options, we agreed that the best course forward is two-fold—first, to produce a virtual ceremony for the conferral of degrees on May 9, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. for College and Berklee Online graduates, and 2:00 p.m. for Conservatory graduates. In addition, when circumstances allow, we intend to host five in-person ceremonies and receptions on campus in the fall semester: one for each of the three College divisions, one for the Conservatory, and one for Berklee Online graduates. We will provide more information on this once we are able to return to campus and set a date. We recognize that not everyone will be able to return for these in-person events, so they will be live-streamed as well. Planned summer graduation ceremonies for master's degree students—in Boston, Valencia, and Berklee Online—remain under consideration at this time. We will continue to keep our community updated as we have further details.
For our virtual commencement celebration, we will continue the tradition of a music, theater, and dance tribute. From their remote locations around the world, students from Berklee class of 2020 will unite as a collaborative virtual ensemble to record a multigenre tribute with accompanying split-screen-style videos. The performance will air on commencement eve, Friday, May 8, on Berklee social media channels.
Given the importance of commencement for our entire community, we are, of course, disappointed that we can not hold our events the same way we have in the past. We hope you’ll remember that we are, above all, a creative community, and together, we will find ways to make these events memorable and meaningful.
Graduating students will soon hear from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion with information about how they can participate in the ceremony. In addition, we have several virtual engagement opportunities that will be shared in coming weeks regarding commencement.
We are all living through a challenging moment in time, upending our day-to-day lives, and dealing with uncertainty. Many thanks to all of you for your responsiveness as we addressed this uncertainty by transitioning swiftly from learning, teaching, and working on campus to doing so remotely. These steps helped to secure the health and safety of our community, and set us up well for our new educational environment.
We are enormously proud to be members of this community of artists, innovators, and educators. We are excited for all those who will be graduating and look forward to watching you contribute to the world in myriad ways.
Roger H. Brown
Executive Director/Senior Vice President, Boston Conservatory at Berklee