Virtual Celebration & Conferring of Degrees

President Biddy Martin hosted a virtual celebration for the class of 2020 on Sunday, May 31 at 11 a.m. EDT. 

Class of 2020 Virtual Celebration

May 31, 2020

Our senior celebration included video messages from the community, an appearance by the student commencement speaker, a performance by the Choral Society, and a surprise special guest. Read transcript.

Order of the Program

President Biddy Martin
President Biddy Martin

Stanley Dunwell
Stanley Oscar Dunwell III ’20
  1. Faculty and Staff Congratulations to the Class of 2020 
  2. Welcome from President Biddy Martin (2:30)
  3. A Message from a Special Guest (10:09)
  4. Greetings from Stanley Oscar Dunwell III, Class of 2020 Student Commencement Speaker (14:55)
  5. Singing of “Three Gifts” (21:55)
  6. Remarks from Biddy Martin (25:05)
  7. A Mammoth Graduation (38:45)
  8. Conferral of Degrees (39:40)
  9. Class of 2020 Graduate Names (43:35)

Scenes from the Virtual Event

Don’t Call It a Commencement

President Martin wearing regalia in her home
President Biddy Martin

May 31, 2020

With this year’s graduation exercises postponed, Amherst conferred degrees on seniors during the virtual “Celebration of the Class of 2020.” The event featured remarks from President Biddy Martin and Stanley O. Dunwell III ’20, and one surprise appearance.

News Story
Johnson Chapel in spring

Senior Awards & Prizes 2020

See the list of Class of 2020 award winners.

President Biddy Martin in her office

Letter from President Martin

Read President Biddy Martin’s letter to the Class of 2020 announcing a virtual celebration on May 31, 2020, and an on-campus celebration in 2021.

close-up of diploma being held by a graduate

A Snapshot of the Resilient Class of 2020

On May 31, the College will recognize and honor this year’s graduates from afar in a virtual Celebration of the Class of 2020. Here are some facts and figures about the students and the event.

On-Campus Commencements in 2021

In the spring of 2021, Amherst College will hold two distinct commencements, one for the class of 2021, and an in-person Commencement for the class of 2020. Confirmation of the exact date will be shared with families as soon as possible.

We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that you can all be here to celebrate — and be celebrated —together. Learn more in President Martin’s letter to the Class of 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I watch the virtual celebration?

The virtual celebration for the class of 2020 will be live-streamed here on this page (shortcut:, and a recording of the event will be posted within a few days. The live stream will be publicly viewable (no log in required). 

Will the names of the graduates be read during the online event?

We are saving the reading of names for the on-campus event in spring 2021, however, the names of the class of 2020 will scroll on the screen at the conclusion of the event so that each graduate can note their individual achievement.

When do students wear their caps and gowns?

Regalia for the class of 2020 will be provided when graduates return to campus for the 199th Commencement in spring 2021. A mortar board (graduation cap) and tassel will be mailed to all seniors for the celebration of the class of 2020 on Sunday, May 31, to the address provided for their diploma. 

When will graduates receive their diplomas?

Graduates will receive their diplomas in late June to the mailing address they provided to the Registrar's Office using NameCoach. The diplomas will be dated May 31, 2020. 

Where Can I Purchase Graduation Announcements and Diploma Frames?

Herff Jones has been authorized to offer personalized announcements and diploma frames for graduating Amherst seniors. Additional information can be found at Amherst College diplomas are 10"x13". 

When will the on-campus Commencement for the Class of 2020 be held?

The exact date has not been determined, but we are planning to hold the on-campus Commencement for the Class of 2020 in spring 2021. We will determine the exact date as soon as we can.

Students stand holding hands around the War Memorial

Looking Back on the Class of 2020

View photos of the Class of 2020 over the past four years, beginning with Orientation 2016.

lawn sign with mammoth saying congratulations Class of 2020

Lawn Signs

Congratulate your Amherst grad with a fun lawn sign from the College’s own Campus Print and Mail service.

purple balloons at an outdoor celebration

First-Gen Trailblazers Celebration

On June 6, join our virtual celebration of our graduating first-generation seniors and their families!

Contact Us

Austin Huot, Commencement director, and the staff in the office of conferences and special events (CASE) coordinate the annual Commencement activities. Please contact CASE at (413) 542-2845 or if you have questions about Commencement. 


Find speeches, photos and multimedia from previous years in our Commencement archive.

Future Commencements

2021: Sunday, May 23
2022: Sunday, May 22
2023: Sunday, May 21