Baruch to hold first in-person commencement ceremony after two years


Baruch College

Rachel Dalloo

Baruch College announced that there will be an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022 following two years of online ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will be held on May 26 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, according to the Office of Student Life’s website.

“Baruch is pleased to announce that the College is planning to host an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 26, beginning at 9:30 am, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn,” Director of Public Relations Suzanne Bronski said in a statement to The Ticker. “President S. David Wu will preside over the exercises, and Linda Essig, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, will serve as the master of ceremonies.”

Though despite there not being any further information regarding COVID-19 protocols, the website states that sometime in “late February,” more information will be provided to address any concerns or additional questions students, faculty and staff may have.

“We will announce details regarding public health protocols, guest policy and tickets, along with other logistics, as soon as they are available,” Bronski said. “Later this semester, we will also announce this year’s Commencement speaker and Honorary Degree recipient, as well as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2022.”

In order for students to be eligible for graduation, they are advised to fill out an Application for Degree form with the Registrar’s Office, as stated by Student Life. They also must apply for their graduation on CUNYFirst.

The decision to host the in-person ceremony was made in summer 2021, with acknowledgement that Baruch would only be able to continue with the ceremony if permission from the CUNY Central Office was granted, according to Director of Student Life Damali Tolson.

Administrators are acknowledging that only an “official notification from the Registrar’s Office” should be accepted as a confirmed statement of graduation.

Student Life also said that while students may receive a commencement letter from its office, it does not signify that those students have completed all of the academic requirements or that they are eligible to graduate.

The decision to host an in-person event comes after administrators at CUNY and college leaders reached a consensus after considering the current COVID-19-related CDC and New York State protocols.

For students who wish to invite family members from outside of the United States, Student Life provides them with the opportunity to fill out the digital invitation letter form — which should be brought into its office by the students themselves.

In addition to the completed invitation form, students are advised to provide Student Life with a Certificate of Attendance, which students can request from the Registrar’s office. Without the two forms, the invitation letters will not be filled out as requested, according to Student Life.

In Oct. 2021, Baruch President David S. Wu announced the call for Baruch faculty and staff members to nominate candidates for the commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.

“The President’s Office is working on both the speaker and honorary degree recipients,” Tolson said. “They both need to be approved by CUNY Central so we are hoping that we get confirmation from those we have reached out to shortly, so we can get CUNY approval and announce to the Baruch Community as soon as possible.”

According to the President’s website, the college is seeking candidates who have contributed deeply to their “local, national, or global communities” and excelled in their professional careers.

The Honorary Degree Committee is led by Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Essig. The deadline to submit final nominations was on Oct. 15, 2021.

Students who are participating in the commencement exercises must wear the cap and gown attire. Students who are unable to attend graduation and who have placed an order to receive their cap and gown set must request a refund before May 1.

“We have heard from many students in the Class of 2022 who are excited to attend an in-person Commencement ceremony,” Bronksi said.

For students who are unsure or who do not plan to attend the in-person commencement, Baruch will be livestreaming the event via a link posted on its website.

Any requests for refunds which are made after commencement will not be completed and any attire that is not picked up on the day of commencement will be returned to the original manufacturer by the end of the day, according to Student Life.

“The Baruch College community looks forward to celebrating the academic success and accomplishments of nearly 5,000 students in the Class of 2022,” Bronski said.