Dear Member of the Welch College Class of 2020:
It is with a heavy heart that I write and tell you that we are forced to cancel our planned Commencement ceremony for the class of 2020. Earlier this year, before the second wave of COVID-19 that swept the country, we had every expectation that we could provide a safe, physically distanced Commencement ceremony for you and your family. However, with recent developments, it has become impossible for us to go through with those plans.
Our reasons for cancelling the ceremony include, but aren’t limited to, the fact that the Governor of the State of Tennessee has issued an order that keeps us from having indoor gatherings on campus of more than 50 people. This means that we couldn’t even accommodate the Class of 2020 and the administration of the college in the ceremony. Thus none of your family could attend, which defeats the entire purpose of having a special ceremony. We deemed it far too risky to host an outdoor ceremony, only for you and your guests to travel here and it rain that day, with no ability to move the ceremony indoors. Furthermore, many of the states from which our graduates would have been traveling have orders that require lengthy quarantining after returning from Tennessee.
Many other considerations went into the difficult decision to cancel this special ceremony we had hoped and planned to have for you. I want you to know how deeply we regret that we could not follow through with our plans. You mean so much to us, and we celebrate with you upon the occasion of your graduation from Welch College. We will be shipping your diploma and (where applicable) your cap and gown.
We look forward to great things from you as you serve Christ, His church, and His world. We hope you will keep in touch with us and come back to visit your alma mater very soon.
J. Matthew Pinson