Hope College is planning to welcome back the Class of 2020 for an on-campus, in-person commencement the weekend of August 1–2.

We at Hope are very excited to honor this important milestone in your life.

The faculty and staff at Hope have been enthusiastic in their commitment to plan a meaningful celebration for you and your loved ones. Thanks to their efforts, I am able to share the following details for commencement weekend.

Schedule for commencement weekend

Commencement: Saturday, August 1 (evening)

The commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 will take place at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium on Saturday evening. This year’s commencement speaker will be Associate Professor of Religion Dr. Jared Ortiz. 

Please note that the rain location for commencement will be DeVos Fieldhouse; in the event that the ceremony must move to DeVos, tickets will be strictly limited; it is important to be prepared for this possibility, as we regret we will not be able to offer additional tickets for guests. However, there will be overflow spaces on campus where guests can gather to watch the livestream.

Baccalaureate: Sunday, AUgust 2 (Morning)

The baccalaureate ceremony will take place Sunday morning in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. This year’s baccalaureate speaker will be Jim McFarlin ’74, alumnus and member of the Hope College Board of Trustees.


Both commencement and baccalaureate will be livestreamed. Graduates, families and friends unable to attend the on-campus ceremonies are invited to join the celebration remotely.

Additional details to come

We will be sharing more details about additional activities planned for commencement weekend; please check the website regularly for updates. We also will be offering suggestions for lodging options.

Monitoring conditions

We understand that conditions related to the pandemic will continue to evolve, and we will need to monitor the situation carefully to determine next steps. Our plans for commencement will be based on the guidance, recommendations and restrictions issued by the governor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Many of you are eager to make plans for commencement, including travel plans; because there is a possibility that conditions will prevent us from hosting commencement in August, it may be prudent to put off finalizing travel arrangements until closer to the date.

If restrictions prompt further postponement

In the event that conditions prevent us from hosting commencement in August, we will postpone it to next May 2021, when we will combine graduation celebrations for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. We believe this is a better option than continuing to postpone commencement by increments of a few weeks or a few months.

Thank You

Many thanks for your understanding and grace through this season. You have shown resilience and grit, and we are proud of you. We can’t wait to be together to celebrate this huge achievement — the completion of your college education! — and to formally welcome you, in person, as Hope alumni.