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Dear Keene State Owls:

We join your friends, family members, and Keene State College faculty and staff, when we share how very proud we are of you and your accomplishments at Keene State. On May 29, there will be so many reasons to celebrate your hard work and dedication to gaining knowledge, growing as an individual in ways you might have not expected, and being an important part of our community.

You are earning your degree under challenging circumstances, during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are persevering and on course to meet your goal. We admire your hard work and tenacity.

The health and safety of our community including you, your family and friends, are of utmost importance to us at Keene State. Unfortunately, it’s predicted that COVID-19 will continue to circulate among populations that have not been vaccinated yet, well into the summer. That said, we are confident that Keene State can host an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 29 for you, our graduates, which can safely include members of our College community who are participating in our surveillance COVID-19 testing protocol.

Commencement typically is host to thousands of people. We cannot take that large of a risk during the pandemic. For that reason, we are saddened to say that we cannot accommodate guests, families and others who wish to attend in person during the ceremony, even if they are vaccinated. We recognize this a great disappointment, and it is for our whole College community, too. The good news is that all Commencement events will be held, and will be live-streamed, so your family and friends may participate virtually – stay tuned for more information about this. The ceremony will include all the usual traditions; procession down Appian Way, crossing the stage while names are read, and Clap Out by members of the Keene State community after the ceremony.

Members of the Class of 2021 who completed degree requirements in August 2020 or in December 2020, or who are completing degree requirements remotely during the spring 2021 semester, will be contacted by the Commencement office regarding intentions for attending the Commencement ceremony. If you are one of these students, and you wish to attend the ceremony in person, you will be tested for COVID-19 in advance of the ceremony.

Additional details (with a reminder that all events will be live-streamed):

  • The Nursing Pinning Ceremony will take place on Friday, May 28 in the Mabel Brown Room
  • Honors Convocation will take place on Friday, May 28 in the Redfern Main Theatre.
  • The Master’s Hooding Ceremony will take place in the Mabel Brown Room on Friday, May 28 in the evening after Honors Convocation.
  • There will not be a Commencement Fair – graduates will order their regalia/gold tassels/sashes/honor cords online through Oak Hall, our regalia vendor, and will pick up at the Keene State Bookstore. More details are forthcoming by Keene State email.

We recognize this is a great deal of information, and that you are likely feeling disappointed and perhaps frustrated. Please know we truly wish we could all celebrate in person together. We are happy that we can plan to host you in person, and maintain safety.

We look forward to honoring your accomplishments this May. If you or your family members have questions or concerns, please contact


Melinda Treadwell

Ockle Johnson

Jen Ferrell
Associate Vice President, Student Engagement

Future Ceremonies

  • Commencement 2021 will take place on May 29th, 2021.
  • Commencement 2022 will take place on May 7, 2022.
  • Commencement 2023 will take place on May 6, 2023.

Contact College Ceremonies and Events

Office of College Ceremonies and Events