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2020 University Commencement and Diploma Ceremonies FAQs

On March 27, Father McShane announced that the University Commencement and diploma ceremonies would be postponed due to COVID-19. At the same time, Father McShane announced to graduating students that the University would videocast a ceremony of the conferral of the degrees on Saturday, May 16, the date on which the degrees are officially granted from the University.

While the in-person ceremonies are postponed to a date when we can safely gather together in large groups, the University is preparing to ensure that our graduating students are recognized and honored. More information can be found in the following FAQs:

Will my degree still be conferred on May 16?
Yes, if you are scheduled to graduate in May, your degree will officially be conferred on May 16. That date will be on both your transcript and diploma.

What exactly is a videocast ceremony?
On Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. EDT, we plan to stream a video of Father McShane officially conferring the degrees to graduates. Each of the deans will present their students remotely as candidates for degree. Once the degrees have been conferred, Father McShane will address the graduating class. Additional details regarding the videocast ceremony will be emailed to graduating students in the coming weeks and will also be shared on our website, You are welcome to share the link with as many people as you would like!

In addition to the videocast ceremony, each school will have a dedicated webpage that will serve as a digital program and feature a message from the Dean as well as a customizable slide for each graduate. Graduating students were able to submit a photo and a personalized message for their slides by Sunday, May 3. Slides will be able to be downloaded and shared on social media. Instructions on how to submit were shared with graduating students via email from the dean's office.

Will there be a guest speaker at the May 16 videocast ceremony?
While Fordham has traditionally invited a guest speaker for the University Commencement in May, we will not have a guest speaker during the videocast ceremony. We will, however, have a guest speaker when the in-person University Commencement takes place.

Is there a Baccalaureate Mass?
Yes, all are welcome to join the Class of 2020 in prayer and celebration during the videocast of the Baccalaureate Mass! The Mass will be available on-demand any time beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 15 on the Commencement website.

The Mass will include a special homily by and honorary degree presentation to Father James Martin, S.J. Father Martin is editor-at-large of America magazine and is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Building a Bridge.

When will the postponed ceremonies take place?
The in-person University Commencement and diploma ceremonies have been postponed until we can safely gather together in large groups. Since we do not know when that will be, we do not yet have a new date for the ceremonies. As soon as we are able to share a new date, we will inform the University community via email and on our website.

When the time comes, the in-person University Commencement and diploma ceremonies will all be available via livestream if you or your family cannot attend.

Can I still receive my cap and gown for the May videocast?
Yes! Our partners at Herff Jones have offered to provide complimentary home shipping within the United States for all caps and gowns that were scheduled for in-person pickup. If students pre-ordered their cap and gown, they received an email directly from Herff Jones regarding home shipping (please note that you will need your original order number). If students did not pre-order their cap and gown, they are able to place a new order. Students that provide their home ship information or place a new order after April 24 will likely receive their gowns after May 16.

Graduate students who pay directly for their cap and gown are also given the option for a refund. All refunds are handled directly through Herff Jones. 

If you have questions regarding your cap and gown order, please contact Steve Clarke from Herff Jones Inc. at [email protected] or 516-781-5928.

Will I need a cap and gown for the postponed in-person ceremonies?
Yes. Caps and gowns will be required to participate in any in-person ceremonies. If students order a cap and gown for May, they should keep the cap and gown for the in-person ceremony.

Students who do not order for May will also have an opportunity to place an order for a cap and gown in advance of the in-person ceremony (provided they did not receive an order in May). More information will be shared after a new date is announced.

Do I need to return my cap and gown?
Bachelor’s and master’s candidates (except for the School of Law) are provided with “keeper gowns” and therefore do not need to return their cap and gown.

All doctoral candidates, along with master’s candidates from the School of Law, will be required to return their rented cap and gown. Rented caps and gowns may be kept until the in-person ceremony takes place. Rented caps and gowns must be returned immediately after the in-person ceremony. If you are unable to attend the in-person ceremony, Herff Jones will include a pre-paid return label to ship the rental back to them. Rentals must be mailed back to Herff Jones by the date of the in-person ceremony to avoid incurring any late fees.

When will I receive my diploma?
Normally, diplomas for May graduates are presented during or shortly after the diploma ceremonies. Since the diploma ceremonies have been postponed, Fordham is currently working with our diploma partners to arrange for home shipping. The facility that produces the diplomas is currently closed due to COVID-19, so we anticipate that graduates will receive their diploma in the summer, as long as the facilities are able to safely open.

In order to recognize the degree conferral, Fordham will be offering a digital diploma to all graduates for the first time this year to complement the print diploma. We are partnering with a company that will provide the digital diploma, which can be verified as authentic through Fordham’s website. The digital diploma can be shared via social media and can also be shared electronically with employers.

Additional information and FAQs about diplomas will be sent to graduating students in the coming weeks.

When and how can I request an official transcript?
The following information pertains to all students except those attending Fordham Law. Law students should visit the School of Law Registrar website for more information.

Fordham University now offers official electronic transcripts (eTranscripts) through the National Student Clearinghouse to students and alumni who attended the University after 1990. For more information and to order an official transcript, please visit the website for the Office of Academic Records.

If you have specific questions about transcripts, please contact the Office of Academic Records at [email protected].

Are there other ways that Fordham is recognizing the Class of 2020?
Our Marketing and Communications team is putting together a video of our graduating seniors and would love to feature as many of you as possible. Please send a brief (30 seconds or less) video of yourself--in Fordham gear, if you have it--shot horizontally. Please let us know in the video what you love most about Fordham and/or your favorite Fordham memory. Please send videos to [email protected] and include your name, which school you are graduating from, and your hometown (or where you're currently living if not your hometown) no later than May 8.

Can I still order Fordham graduation items?
The Fordham Bookstore will continue to accept orders for general merchandise (including the Class of 2020 t-shirt) and is now shipping merchandise. The on-campus stores will remain closed until the campus can safely reopen.

Our partners at Jostens are currently running some limited-time offers on class rings. 

Official Fordham diploma frames may be ordered through the Fordham Bookstore or through Church Hill Classics.

I have more questions!
If you have any additional questions, please contact the Commencement Office at [email protected] or 718-817-3010.

This FAQ page will be updated as more information is available.


Last updated: 5/5/2020