Message from President Mary Finger to Members of the Seton Hill Class of 2020

July 6, 2020

Dear Seton Hill Class of 2020,

I pray you and your families continue to stay healthy and safe.

As you know, all of us at Seton Hill have been considering options for an in-person Commencement in August to celebrate your accomplishments as Seton Hill University graduates. 

Despite our best intentions, I write today to share that Seton Hill will not hold an in-person Commencement ceremony in August for the Class of 2020 as we had originally hoped. 

While we know that so many of you were interested in gathering together on August 8 for Commencement, the realities facing our campus, our state and our nation at this time make such a ceremony impossible. 

Unfortunately, recent spikes in COVID-19 cases throughout the country and ever-changing guidelines and restrictions challenge our ability to plan for a large-scale event.  Late last week, Pennsylvania officials enacted a 14-day quarantine policy for anyone coming into Pennsylvania from any one of 15 states with high coronavirus case numbers. This quarantine requirement would make it nearly impossible for some graduates to return in August for commencement. In addition, as we prepare for the safe return of students to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, we anticipate that many out-of-state students will now need to quarantine in our residence halls for two weeks prior to the start of the semester on August 17, which would fall during our planned time for Commencement.

We do want to celebrate you and your class at a future Commencement ceremony. As a May 2020 graduate, you will have the option to participate in the December 2020 or the May 2021 Commencement ceremonies. Please continue to check your Seton Hill email for further information on the opportunities available to you as we make plans for those graduation events. 

I understand your disappointment and the frustration that this pandemic has caused. Please know that we will make special efforts to celebrate the Class of 2020 at both the December 2020 and May 2021 Commencement events. 

In the meantime, I would like to request your assistance so that we are able to honor you in a special way. We invite all graduates to submit a headshot or favorite photo along with a description of your future plans for a virtual slideshow that we will create for the Class of 2020. Please submit your information by July 31 to Seton Hill Graphic Designer Breanna Salvio at We look forward to making the slideshow available on the Seton Hill University social media channels. 

I look forward to seeing you at a commencement ceremony in December or next May. I extend to you my personal congratulations on your graduation. 

Hazard yet Forward,

Dr. Finger