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Elms College Plans In-Person Commencement on May 15

CHICOPEE, Mass. — College of Our Lady of the Elms announced its plan to hold an in-person celebration for its 90th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15.


Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the ceremony itself will be limited to graduates only and is not open to the public. Each graduate will be allowed to have one car containing up to four guests located in specific parking areas separate from where Commencement will be held. To keep foot traffic to a minimum, no other guests will be allowed on campus. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced and everyone must wear a mask.


The procession will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the Keating Quadrangle and the program will begin at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the college’s Facebook page,, for those watching from their cars or from home.


“We are delighted to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of the Class of 2021 and hold the 90th Commencement ceremony in-person on our campus grounds,” said Harry E. Dumay, Ph.D., MBA, president of Elms College.


Based on the Massachusetts COVID-19 Safety Standards for Commencement and Graduation Ceremonies, the college is taking all safety precautions in order to hold a meaningful celebration for the members of the Class of 2021 and their loved ones.


Elms College is also pleased to announce that this year’s Commencement speaker is Haitian-American novelist and short story writer Edwidge Danticat, MFA. Danticat, who will deliver her address remotely from her home in Miami, has been praised for her spare, emotionally evocative prose and for highlighting the stories of the Haitian diaspora. Her first novel, “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” which deals with questions of racial, linguistic and gender identity in interconnected ways, was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.


Danticat earned her master of fine arts degree from Brown University. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and Autobiography, The Story Prize, and a MacArthur Fellows Program “genius grant.”


The 90th Commencement ceremonies will also include the awarding of an honorary degree to Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, a 2013 graduate of the Elms College MBA program.


Additional events are being planned during the week of May 10 to celebrate the Class of 2021. These events will follow appropriate safety guidelines and are not open to the public.


For more details on Elms College’s Commencement activities, visit

About Elms College

Elms College is a co-educational Catholic college offering a liberal arts curriculum that prepares students holistically for a purposeful life in a diverse and interconnected world. Founded in 1928 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Elms College has a tradition of educating reflective, principled and creative learners, who are rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to civic and social obligations, and capable of adjusting to change without compromising principle.