Hope College has rescheduled its Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies for the graduating Class of 2020 to the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1-2.

The events were originally going to be held on Sunday, May 3, but have been postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The new plan is likewise contingent on conditions at the time.

The college’s 155th Commencement has been rescheduled for the evening of Saturday, Aug. 1, at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium (at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse in the event of rain).  Baccalaureate will be held during the morning of Sunday, Aug. 2, in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  Hope has approximately 630 graduating seniors this year.

Hope College President Matthew A. Scogin announced the dates in a message he sent to the graduates.  “Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! You have much to be proud of, and although these are challenging and disappointing times, I hope you will not let current circumstances dampen your sense of accomplishment,” he said.  “We can’t wait to be together to celebrate this huge achievement — the completion of your college education! — and to formally recognize you, in person, as Hope’s newest alumni.”

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Jared Ortiz, associate professor of religion.  The Baccalaureate speaker will be Jim McFarlin III, a 1974 Hope graduate and member of the college’s Board of Trustees who is an award-winning author and freelance journalist.

Tickets will be required for the Baccalaureate service but will be required for Commencement only if indoors.  The events will also be livestreamed and will be available for viewing at overflow locations on campus as well as via the internet.

Additional details, including the time of each ceremony, are pending and will be announced as available on the college’s website.

Because of the evolving nature of the pandemic, the new schedule is subject to change.  Hope is continuing to monitor the pandemic and will base its plans on the guidance, recommendations and restrictions issued by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

Due to the possibility that conditions will prevent Hope from hosting Commencement in August, the college has advised families that it may be prudent to delay finalizing travel arrangements until closer to the date.  If restrictions prevent the college from hosting the events in August, they will be postponed to May 2021, when Hope would instead hold combined graduation celebrations for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.