University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Campus Community:

During our second week of remote teaching, I am excited to see the many creative ways our distinguished faculty members are engaging with our students—from virtual office hours via Zoom video networking technology to instructional videos for general chemistry labs. Our students are also using myriad platforms to collaborate on projects with classmates and stay in touch with friends. The sense of community we have been able to retain in spite of the many new challenges we have encountered is both encouraging and inspiring.

As our faculty and students find ways to navigate through these challenging times, it is important for us to continue this sense of community and celebrate achievements together, particularly for the graduating Class of 2020. There is no better way to accomplish those two goals than through commencement on campus.

For the past few weeks, as I spoke to the members of the USD Class of 2020 and their families, I heard loud and clear how important it is to have commencement in person on our beautiful campus. There is also a strong consensus that a virtual commencement would just not be the same, as it is important to gather together to celebrate. Throughout this time, I remained optimistic that we would be able to do so in May as scheduled. As those dates draw near, it is clear that due to the ongoing stay-at-home orders and restrictions on gatherings issued by the State of California Governor’s Office, I need to share the disappointing news that we must postpone our May commencement ceremonies.

As unfortunate as this decision is, I am encouraged once again by the ingenuity and spirit of our community. I am pleased to announce that after consulting with students, faculty and other campus leaders, we have decided to make our commencement ceremonies the centerpiece of our Homecoming and Family Weekend celebrations on October 16-18, 2020. Should there be similar restrictions on gatherings at that time, we will regroup and decide how and when to later hold commencement.

We want to provide opportunities for as many graduating seniors as possible to participate in this special recognition with families and friends. We realize that some graduating seniors may not be able to return to the campus in October. Therefore, I plan to join Torero Clubs around the country at special graduation celebrations for our May graduates, their families, friends and other USD alumni. These celebrations will take place in several cities that work best for our graduates.

We will share additional details with you soon about our commencement ceremonies on campus and our celebrations of the Class of 2020 across the country, but we wanted to get this message out to you as soon as possible so that our graduating seniors and their families, and our entire community can mark their calendars and make arrangements to participate in our Homecoming and Family Weekend commencement ceremonies in October.

There is no more joyful celebration at the University of San Diego than our annual commencement ceremonies. We look forward to hearing from our graduating seniors and their families as we confirm details and adjust plans in ways that allow us to gather joyfully together for one of the most important events in the lives of USD's Class of 2020! 

May God continue to guide and bless our Torero family and the world.


James T. Harris III, D.Ed.

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492