The Class of 2020 will officially graduate this May, even though the traditional pomp and circumstance will have to wait until it’s safe to gather on campus.

The University will celebrate more than 5,500 graduates with a videocast degree conferral ceremony on May 16, the date that Commencement was originally scheduled to take place at Rose Hill. Fordham is committed to holding in-person University Commencement and diploma ceremonies once the CDC and state authorities determine that it’s safe to do so.

“I want to congratulate the peerless Class of 2020 and assure them that they will have the moment in the sun they so richly deserve,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “I know this has been a disappointing and disorienting senior year for them and their families—we will do everything in our power to make it up to them when we are all allowed to gather together again on Edwards Parade. We very much look forward to being with them—virtually—on May 16 when their degrees will be officially conferred on them.”

All graduates, faculty, students, staff, parents, and friends are invited to view the videocast commencement ceremony, which will be available beginning at 10 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 16 on the Commencement website. It will remain available on demand, so graduates and their families in different time zones can watch at their convenience.

Similar to the in-person Commencement tradition, the videocast will feature the deans from each college or school presenting their candidates for graduation as a group. Father McShane will officially confer the degrees and will address the Class of 2020.

Recognition Pages for Schools and College

Families looking to spot their graduates can find them on the recognition pages for each of Fordham’s colleges and schools. Hosted by Marching Order, a software company specializing in graduation ceremonies, these pages will feature a slide for each graduate and include a message from the school’s dean. The links to these recognition pages—which will also feature live social media streams–will be available on May 16 from the Commencement website. The pages will remain available for one year.

The School of Law and the graduate division of the Gabelli School of Business will be hosting separate virtual events for their graduates. More details on those events will be sent directly to students graduating from those schools.

Baccalaureate Mass

The virtual festivities will include another beloved Fordham Commencement tradition: the Baccalaureate Mass. A videocast of the Mass will be available beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 15, on the Commencement website and will remain available on demand. All are welcome to join in the prayer and celebration for our graduates.

At the Mass, Fordham will grant an honorary doctorate of humane letters to James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large of America magazine and New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything (HarperOne, 2012) and Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (HarperCollins, 2018). Father Martin—who will serve as homilist at the Mass—will be a familiar face for some members of the Class of 2020; he spoke at the Fordham College at Rose Hill academic orientation in 2016.

“Jesuit schools care not just for the mind, not just the body, but for the soul, too,” he said to incoming students at the time. He talked to them about the winding life path of St. Ignatius Loyola, noting that “sometimes going ahead means making a U-turn.” And he let them know the Fordham family would be there for them, during their time as students and beyond.

“Believe it or not,” he said, “some of the people in this room may become friends you’ll have for your whole life.”

An influential writer and speaker with a strong social media presence, Father Martin appeared several times on The Colbert Report and is a frequent commenter for outlets such as MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Vatican Radio. He has moderated many Fordham events, including 2012’s The Cardinal and Colbert.

Virtual Cheers

Families and friends may not be able to cheer for graduates in person this May, but they can share messages of support for the Class of 2020 on this page, hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations. These messages will be shared on Fordham’s Commencement website.

And don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social media with #Fordham2020 while you’re watching the videocast!

list of FAQs is available on the Commencement website and will continue to be updated as more information is available.

Commencement by the Numbers

Fordham University will confer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees upon 3,815 May graduates. Including students who graduated in August 2019 and February 2020, the University will confer about 5,500 academic degrees in all.

Below are numbers of the May 2020 degree recipients from each of Fordham’s schools and colleges.

Fordham College at Rose Hill: 823

Fordham at Lincoln Center: 400

Gabelli School of Business (Graduate): 307

Gabelli School of Business (Undergraduate): 619

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: 147

Graduate School of Education: 188

Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education: 34

Graduate School of Social Service: 691

School of Law: 503

School of Professional and Continuing Studies (Undergraduate): 88

School of Professional and Continuing Studies (Graduate): 15

Veterans graduating in the May 2020 class: 93



Nicole LaRosa is the senior director of University communications. She can be reached at [email protected] or 212-903-8810.