The 2020 Class Starts Sunday: Here’s What You Need To Know | BU today
Answers to FAQs on Schedules, Transit, COVID Precautions, and more
Better late than never: BU is celebrating the 2020 promotion during a postponed university start in the event of a pandemic this Sunday, October 3, rain or shine, on Nickerson Field. With more flexible (but not completely eliminated) COVID-19 restrictions than last May’s Class of 2021 event, this one is expected to attract around 7,500 people, including 1,800 graduates of the Class of 2020.
Individual school and college “recognition events” (called convocations in previous years) should see 2,445 members of the 2020 class, as well as their guests. The 2020s will mingle with many other alumni, as the University also holds its annual congress Alumni weekend. Here are answers to frequently asked questions, compiled with information from the of the University Launch site and BU executives.
So who are all these people in crimson caps and dresses?
Anyone who obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from the BU from September 2019 to the following September was eligible to register for the ceremony. On-campus accommodation is not available, but BU has helped Commencement and Alumni Weekend visitors find discounted rooms at special rates; find a list of those here.
When and where, please?
The Baccalaureate will take place at the Chapelle du Marais at 11 a.m. on Sunday and will last approximately one hour. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis, with overflow seats available. The speaker will be Yolanda Kakabadse, former director of World Wildlife Fund International, who will receive a doctorate in humanities at the 147th launch ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field and will last approximately two hours. Graduates of the Class of 2020 will be seated with their school or college and recognized as a group.
The Baccalaureate and Commencement will be streamed live on the Commencement website.
Who are the other speakers and honorary degree recipients?
Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine, give the starting address and receive an honorary doctorate of science. The other graduates are Thomas R. Insel (CAS’72, MED’74), former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, doctor of science; David Satcher, 16th US Surgeon General, former Secretary of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Doctor of Laws; and Mark Volpe, who recently stepped down as President and CEO of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Doctor of Human Letters.
For the first time in the history of the BU, the student lecturer of Commencement and the singer of Commencement will be alumni: Macken Murphy (CAS’20) (lecturer) and Caroline Bourg (CFA’20) (singer).
The Metcalf Cup and the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award, the University’s highest teaching honor, will be awarded to Sarah Sherman-Stokes, Clinical Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and Associate Director of the Immigrant Rights Program and human trafficking. Seth Blumenthal, Senior Lecturer in the Writing Program at the College of Arts and Sciences, and Courtney Goto, Associate Professor of Religious Education at the School of Theology, will receive the 2020 Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
With COVID-19 still raging, what security precautions is the University implementing and how many guests are allowed to attend?
The University has made vaccination mandatory for all current students, faculty, and staff, and BU encourages visitors, including returning 2020s and their guests, to get vaccinated as well. While on campus during Back-to-School Weekend, visitors are required by University security protocols to wear face masks or fabric face covers indoors at all times except when they eat or drink.
As the start will be outdoors, no masking or distancing requirements will apply at Nickerson Field, but the 2020s are limited to four guests each at the ceremony.
I had originally planned to attend my one-on-one convocation event at BU school or college. Are these still being held?
As your early experience is different from any other in BU history, so is the summons. First, it is not called a “summons”, but rather a “recognition event”. This gives schools flexibility to organize their individual ceremonies. (Not all of them have speakers, unlike in years past, and members of the 2020 class have already received their diplomas, usually handed out at snacks.) A list of times and locations for school and school recognition events. colleges is here.
With the double whammy of Commencement and Alumni Weekend, will there be road closures?
On Sunday, Harry Agganis Way will be closed to all traffic from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families and guests attending the inauguration will be directed to the various access routes to Nickerson Field.
What am I allowed to bring to the Baccalaureate and Entry?
No backpack, baggage, food or drink is allowed during either ceremony.
What about special parking arrangements?
On-campus parking, limited and subject to availability, will be at these locations:
- Agganis Arena C-2 Lot, 925 Commonwealth Avenue (entrance on Buick Street)
- Langsam Garage, 142 Gardner Street
- Lot and garage on rue Buick, 25, rue Buick
- Lot CFA, 855 Commonwealth Avenue
- Essex Street Garage and Lot, 148 Essex Street (Brookline)
- 766 Commonwealth Avenue Lot, 766 Commonwealth Avenue
- Upper and Lower Lot Bridge, One University Road
What public transportation is available for those who don’t want to drive?
The Boston MBTA Cart (Green line B) and the 57 bus runs alongside Comm Ave and will run regularly on Sunday on the start day.
A special BUS service (BU Shuttle) will be available on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shuttles will serve all the stops below every 10 minutes at the start of the service and then every 5 minutes from 11 a.m. until the end of the service:
To the east
# 1 Commonwealth @ Pleasant Street
# 2 Commonwealth @ Saint Mary’s Street
# 3 Commonwealth @ Blandford Street
# 6 Commonwealth @ Buick Street
# 4 Commonwealth @ Silber Way
# 5 Commonwealth @ Saint Mary’s Street (Marsh Plaza)
# 6 Commonwealth @ Buick Street
REMARK: Face coverings are compulsory on the BUS and on the MBTA.
And for carpooling…?
To avoid traffic on Comm Ave, if you are using a carpooling service, please ask your driver to drop you off at 250 Pleasant Street, Brookline. This location is across from the Agganis Way entrance at Nickerson Field.
After the ceremony, for those picking up your group or being picked up, meet at Sullivan Tire, 950 Commonwealth Avenue. Limited live parking will be available and any cars left unattended will be towed as parking is strictly prohibited on this lot. Please wait with your car until your group crosses the street after the start.
I had to wait over a year for my special day. Do I receive special compensation?
There will be a reception on Nickerson to celebrate the 2020s immediately following the ceremony.
Oh! @ # $% – I forgot to reserve my mandatory cap and dress first.
A limited selection is available for purchase (or rental for PhD graduates) at Boston University’s Barnes & Noble, 910 Commonwealth Avenue. The store will be open this weekend in extended hours for last minute needs: from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. While every effort is made to provide visitors with the appropriate badges for their diploma, sufficient inventory cannot be guaranteed.
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