Dear NYTS Graduating Class of 2020:
Congratulations again! I am so proud of the class of 2020 who continued to press toward the mark of the high calling that God has placed on your life by being strong finishers! You did not allow the COVID-19 global pandemic stop you from achieving the completion of your degree. What a huge accomplishment! I am especially grateful to all of our Doctor of Ministry students who continued to complete and defend their dissertations – mostly online. Amazing!
Please know that the administration, board of trustees, faculty and staff have been just as anxious as you have been regarding our graduation plans. When the pandemic hit, we postponed our May graduation until December with the hopes of having an in-person celebration. Due to the recent rise in cases and with flu season upon us, rather than have an in person graduation, we have decided to hold a virtual commencement service on December 12, 2020. While we will not observe our commencement service in-person, we are firm in our resolve to prioritize the health and safety of the NYTS community and our families.
Our digital commencement service will create a community experience where your achievements can be honored and your success celebrated with family, friends and your NYTS community. The graduation robes have been ordered, and we hope that each of you will work with us to create a dynamic virtual experience. Our VP for academic affairs and Academic Dean, Dr. Tamara Henry, will be in contact with you to provide specific information about what we will need from you over the next several weeks.
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we rely on our state and local leaders for continued guidance. Remember, those who have completed all academic and financial requirements are eligible to participate in our virtual graduation ceremony. We look forward to your active participation so that you will be able to declare to the nations that you are an official graduate of New York Theological Seminary. What a celebration it will be! For truly – eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love God.
The Rev. Dr. LaKeesha Walrond
President, New York Theological Seminary