Commencement 2020

After careful consideration for the health and safety of our community and guests, and after consulting with the elected leaders of the Class of 2020, we have made the decision to hold Commencement 2020 in a virtual format.

Please check this page regularly, as details about Commencement 2020 will be added as the ceremony date approaches.


Except for its presentation in an online format, Commencement 2020 will follow much the same program as a live ceremony. The ceremony will be live-streamed from campus on August 1, 2020 beginning at 7:00 p.m. A recording of the ceremony will be made available at a later date. View the 2020 Commencement Program.

As is traditional in W&J’s Commencement ceremonies, President John C. Knapp and the platform party will be in attendance, faculty and staff awards will be presented, and there will be a Commencement student speaker. An honorary Doctor of Science will be presented to Mark L. Tykocinski, M.D. of Thomas Jefferson University. To read more about Dr. Tykocinski and the historical connection between Thomas Jefferson University and W&J, see W&J College to Honor Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski During Virtual 221st Commencement Ceremony.

The names of each graduate of the Class of 2020 will be announced individually during the live stream, along with a photo of the graduate (please see below for instructions to upload a photo).

Cap and Gown Distribution

Students will have their caps and gowns in time for the Aug. 1 virtual ceremony. Gift boxes containing caps, gowns, diplomas, any cords or stoles the graduate should receive, and gift items were mailed to graduates on July 22.

Live Stream

A live stream of the Commencement ceremony will begin 15 minutes before the ceremony starts. The live stream will occur through Facebook Live on the Washington & Jefferson College Facebook page, through the Washington & Jefferson College YouTube channel, and through the embedded video player below. The live stream will be recorded, and the recording will be made available online at a later date.


As we plan for your virtual Commencement ceremony, we'd like to ask you to submit a photo of yourself that we can show when your name is announced during the ceremony. Final photographs must be submitted no later than 12 p.m. on Friday, July 31. If we don't receive a picture submission, a W&J logo with your name will be used.

Headshots taken with smartphone cameras are acceptable, but students are encouraged to engage friends and family to get the best photograph possible, or to submit a professionally taken headshot if available.

Instructions for Uploading Photos

  • Each student may upload one image. This should be a headshot, rather than a casual or candid photo.
  • Please name the image file the same as it would appear on your diploma. For example: Alexander Delmont Bard.jpg
  • Images should be a maximum size of 10MB and in .jpg format.
  • Students can visit the following link to upload their image:

Although students and faculty will not be in attendance at the ceremony, a campus photographer will be in attendance to capture photos of speeches by Dr. Knapp, platform party members, and the honorary degree recipient. Photography will be made available online in the days following the ceremony.