Alma to Hold First Virtual Commencement

The online ceremony on May 21 will honor spring 2020 graduates.

ALMA — Alma College will hold a virtual commencement celebration May 21 in honor of the students who are candidates for bachelor’s degrees at the end of the winter 2020 semester.

The college previously announced it would postpone its annual in-person commencement, originally scheduled for April 18, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The college will reschedule the in-person event in the future, following guidance from healthcare officials.

“The traditional spring commencement is one of the proudest days of the year at Alma College. The decision to postpone the ceremony this year was a difficult but necessary choice,” Alma College President Jeff Abernathy said. “Although we cannot come together in a traditional way in our current environment, we want to celebrate the class of 2020 and their many accomplishments.”

The online event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 21 and will be live streamed at The video and event materials will remain available at the commencement web page at after the event.

Individual recognition for each student will be available at and features the degree(s) and honor(s) for each student along with their photo. President Abernathy will give the commencement address and Asiel Clark, the 2020 Barlow Trophy recipient, also provides remarks, along with others. Will Nichols, the conductor of the Alma College Choirs, is maintaining another tradition by singing the alma mater.

Students, parents, alumni and friends are invited to watch from home and celebrate all things Alma. The watch party site includes Alma-themed coloring pages and Zoom backgrounds, a recipe for highland chicken, and more for families to enjoy. Participants who share photos of their watch party or themselves wearing Alma gear will be entered for giveaways.

“Even though we may not be able to gather in-person for commencement at this time, we hope all Alma College graduates join with their families, along with faculty, staff and their fellow students to celebrate this momentous occasion,” said Kathleen Dougherty, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The class of 2020 will always be remembered as an incredibly resilient group of Scots and we look forward to recognizing their accomplishments.”

Story published on May 14, 2020