April 29 - To the Class of 2020: Policies for Commencement guests

Dear Class of 2020,

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus! As announced earlier this week, due to changes in state regulations, the University is now able to accommodate two guests per graduate at your celebration on Sunday, May 16 as well as for Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, May 15. We look forward to sharing this special time with you and your loved ones.

Please note that very little has changed with regards to the order of exercises, testing requirements for students, or safety protocols communicated previously. Please read this message carefully in preparation for next week, and also refer to information posted on the Commencement webpage.

Baccalaureate Mass

Baccalaureate Mass will now be celebrated at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 15 in Our Lady of Mercy Chapel. This is a time change from previous messages. Graduates who RSVP’d in advance will check in near the chapel. A maximum of two guests per graduate will be allowed. Guests must follow the policies outlined below and be accompanied by their graduate at check-in. The Baccalaureate Mass will also be live-streamed via a link on the Commencement webpage.

Senior Celebration

The previously scheduled clambake and Commencement Ball have been combined into a senior celebration, which will be held from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Undergraduates from the Class of 2020 are invited to Ochre Court for a cocktail hour, passed hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down three-course dinner and a DJ for entertainment and music. The event will be formal and students should dress accordingly, however black-tie formal is optional.

With these changes, the cost to attend is now $20. If you previously purchased tickets totaling over $20, the difference will be refunded to your original payment method. If you are now unable to attend, please email studentactivities@salve.edu. The Eventbrite ticketing page reflects these changes and tickets will remain on sale through noon Friday, April 30.

COVID-19 Testing

All members of the Class of 2020 participating in activities on Saturday, May 15 and/or Commencement on Sunday, May 16 are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 48 hours (2 days) of the event/ceremony upon check in. Rapid or PCR tests will be accepted. Results can be shown electronically or via printout.

Check-In for Graduates

Commencement check-in for graduates will be located at the Rodgers Recreation Center. All graduates are required to park in the Rodgers lot to allow for guest parking in other areas. Please plan to arrive by 9 a.m. Anyone arriving past 9:30 a.m. will risk missing the procession from Rodgers to the Commencement tent.

Check-In and Policies for Guests

Graduates who have confirmed their participation are allowed a maximum of two guests at their ceremony. No more than two guests will be permitted under any circumstances, so please do not call University offices to ask how extra tickets may be obtained. There are no tickets being distributed this year due to safety protocols.

  • Guest check-in will be located at the Misto Gatehouse, and this will serve as the single point of entry to the Commencement area. Guest check-in will begin approximately one hour prior to their graduate’s scheduled ceremony.
  • Guests do not need to RSVP as they will be checked in according to their graduate’s name.
  • Guests do not need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test per state guidelines, however they will be screened upon check-in.
  • Guests will receive color-coded wristbands to assist with safety protocols.
  • Masks must be worn at all times (even outdoors) according to University policy, and all guests are asked to follow the established social distancing guidelines of at least three feet. We are aware of recent guidelines from the CDC and elsewhere regarding masks. However, in order to protect the health and safety of those volunteering during the ceremonies, we are maintaining our current University policies at this time. If you do not wish to wear a mask within the Commencement area, you are free to watch the ceremony virtually from another location.
  • Once guests are checked in, they may find a seat in the designated seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Guests will not be allowed to leave their seats during the ceremony to take photos or congregate elsewhere. Should a guest need to leave the tent area for personal or emergency matters, they will be escorted by staff to the tent exit.

The tent will be open on the sides to accommodate air flow. The oceanside location can be cooler than anticipated, so please plan accordingly. The bookstore will be open in Miley Hall for any last-minute sweatshirt needs or other items. Coffee and refreshments will also be available inside the O’Hare Academic Building.

Given the recent pivot to accommodate guests, the tent setup will include monitors near the seating area to provide additional viewing opportunities.

Each ceremony will be live-streamed, with the link available on the Commencement webpage. Do not panic if the link is not immediately active. When ready, a countdown will appear to indicate the program is about to begin. Due to space and staffing restrictions, there will be no separate location on campus to view the livestream of the ceremony.


Guests will not be allowed to leave their seats during the ceremony to take photos. The University has contracted with GradImages to provide professional photography for families in compliance with established safety protocols.

GradImages will take one photo of each graduate receiving their diploma case from the president (with mask) and there will also be an area set as each graduate descends the stage where a photo will be taken without a mask. GradImages will contact you directly regarding those photos in the event you wish to purchase them.

Following the ceremony, families will be allowed to take photographs on campus as long as they remain outside of any buildings. Graduates will process out of the tent and across Ochre Point Avenue to the Gerety Hall lawn, where they can reunite with family members.

The large SALVE letters will be available for photos on the Gerety lawn and a class banner will be hung from Ochre Court. We simply ask that you keep a safe social distance from others and that you re-mask after a photograph is taken so others may also safely take photos.

Social Media

The University has several social media accounts. Please consider tagging us and using the hashtag #salve2020 so that we may continue to share in your celebration.

We recognize that your experience over the past year and a half includes many sacrifices. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have continued to adjust to an incredible amount of change throughout this pandemic, especially in the few weeks leading to your long-awaited celebration. We are thrilled that we can provide the recognition you deserve in-person, and with two guests to share in the experience.

At Salve Regina, we deeply value our connections to one another and the importance of every single member of our community. Throughout the tenure of this pandemic, we have tried to maintain an environment that upholds the legacy of our Mercy founders. Our Salve Regina graduates and families have been equal partners in working through these times. As you joyously recognize this special occasion, we ask that you please be considerate to those volunteering. Many have taken time away from their own families to ensure that you and yours are able to celebrate safely together.

We look forward to learning more about your accomplishments for years to come.