Since March 16, when Washington University Chancellor Andrew D. Martin sorrowfully announced via a video message to the Class of 2020 the cancellation of the May 15 Commencement ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, planning has been underway to appropriately recognize graduating students.
In his most recent communication to the Class of 2020, Martin provided an update, including his appointment of an Alternate Commencement Committee charged with recommending how the university can best honor the class and its accomplishments in an in-person gathering when it is safe to do so.
“Many of you are grieving the loss of this important rite of passage, and I want you to know that I’ve assembled an all-star committee to reimagine this celebration for you,” he wrote in a letter mailed to the more than 3,500 students who filed an intent to graduate.
He announced that Chancellor Emeritus Mark S. Wrighton is chairing the 22-member committee, made up of university and student leaders, including deans or dean-designates from all seven schools.
“I trust that with their creativity and passion for caring for our students, we’ll eventually be able to enjoy a celebration worthy of your outstanding achievements,” Martin wrote.
He noted that the committee will meet through April, and he will share plans with students and their families by early May.
In addition to Wrighton, the other members of the committee, which will be staffed by Michelle Gelven, director of Commencement, are:
- Cris Baldwin, assistant dean and registrar, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
- John G. Baugh, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences
- Danielle F. Bristow, assistant dean of student affairs, Brown School
- Rebecca L. Brown, associate vice chancellor and chief of staff, chancellor’s office
- Tiaya Clark, a candidate for a master of social work, Brown School, and a master of arts in education, and interim residential college director, Office of Residential Life
- Taylor Chen, a candidate for a BSBA in finance, Olin Business School
- Agneesh Dasgupta, a candidate for a BS in computer science, McKelvey School of Engineering
- John N. Drobak, the George Alexander Madill Professor of Real Property and Equity Jurisprudence, School of Law
- Julie Flory, interim vice chancellor for public affairs
- Shelly Gupta, a candidate for BSBA in accounting, Olin Business School
- Leslie Heusted, executive director, Campus Life
- Sue Hosack, university registrar
- Chris Kroeger, associate dean for undergraduate student services, McKelvey School of Engineering
- Ashley M. Macrander, associate dean and director of graduate program student services, Olin Business School MBA programs
- Lisa M. Moscoso, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, interim co-director, Division of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine, School of Medicine
- Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the faculty and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology, Arts & Sciences
- Nancy C. Staudt, dean and the Howard and Caroline Cayne Distinguished Professor of Law, School of Law
- Mark P. Taylor, dean and the Donald Danforth Jr. Distinguished Professor of Finance, Olin Business School
- Gina Tramelli, senior director of special events, University Advancement
- Rob Wild, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
Individual schools and affinity groups also plan to hold their own virtual recognition ceremonies, starting May 8 with Olin Business School’s EMBA ceremony and continuing through May 15. Details on those plans will be sent to graduating students early next month.