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The region’s six community colleges, including Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College, have canceled their in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 2020. The presidents of FLCC and MCC and of Erie, Genesee, Jamestown and Niagra community colleges announced the news to their campuses over the past week.

At FLCC, the traditional commencement ceremony scheduled for May 16 has been postponed. May 2020 graduates will receive their degrees, and transcripts will show a May 2020 graduation date. Alternative plans for a celebration are under development and may include a ceremony at a later date, an online ceremony, or both. Commencement planners are gathering ideas from faculty, staff and students before developing options.

"We have every intention of celebrating your accomplishments," President Robert Nye told students in an email. "It's the highlight of our year."

Students who have registered to graduate can still get caps and gowns for free by placing an online order by April 15 with the bookstore.

MCC is postponing its May commencement ceremony to early December, when a traditional, in-person celebration will be held. Students who fulfill program requirements and apply for graduation will become MCC graduates in May and receive their degrees and certificates in the mail during the summer. Approximately 2,000 students are expected to be in the class of 2020.

Questions related to commencement may be sent to studentservices@monroecc.edu<mailto:studentservices@monroecc.edu>. Students with questions about their graduation status can contact graduation@monroecc.edu<mailto:graduation@monroecc.edu>.

“I share our students' disappointment over the change in plans,” stated MCC Interim President Dr. Katherine Douglas. “I am committed to seeing our students experience the distinctive tradition of walking across the stage in December and celebrating with them this significant milestone in their lives.”

Other community colleges in the region:

• Erie Community College has canceled its in-person ceremony scheduled for May 20 and is looking at options for a virtual ceremony to be held in its place that day. President Dr. Dan Hocoy noted that the college is also considering options to hold an in-person ceremony at a later date.

• Genesee Community College is planning for a virtual commencement, noting in a release that "a dedicated group of college staff are working diligently to make this an uplifting and celebratory experience." More details will be shared with students and families in the near future.

• Jamestown Community College has postponed the May commencement exercises and is exploring options.

• Niagara County Community Collegewill postpone its May 2020 commencement ceremonies until a later date. President Dr. William J. Murabito said a survey would be distributed to eligible graduates to take into account their preferences for a new date.