Rider announces plans for rescheduled Commencement ceremonies

Ceremony planned for Nov. 1, with separate Dec. 12 ceremony for Westminster Choir College students
Adam Grybowski

Recognizing the symbolic power of a traditional in-person ceremony to celebrate graduation, Rider University announced this week that it has rescheduled its Commencement ceremonies for November and December. Normally held annually in May, the ceremonies were postponed because of restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Coronavirus may have changed the way we gather to celebrate the Rider University Class of 2020, but it will never stop us from acknowledging this life-changing milestone in the lives of our students,” Rider’s president, Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., said in an email announcing the new plans.

The Lawrenceville Commencement ceremony is planned for Sunday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m. at the Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton. As originally planned, this ceremony will include undergraduate, graduate and the first-ever class of Rider doctoral students. Dell’Omo said the date was chosen to coincide with Rider’s annual Homecoming and Family Weekend.

On-campus college-based receptions will be held the morning of Commencement as originally scheduled, as well as many other events throughout the weekend to give the Class of 2020 opportunities to connect with classmates.

The Westminster Choir College Commencement ceremony is planned for Saturday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel. The pre-ceremony music will begin at 1:15 p.m. The commencement ceremony will replace the afternoon performance of Readings and Carols. Readings and Carols performances are planned for Friday, December 11, and Saturday, December 12, at 8 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel.

While the plans optimistically look forward to a time of relaxed social restrictions, the University recognizes that conditions may prompt a re-evaluation. During the current outbreak, the University has repeatedly stressed that its first priority is the health and safety of the campus community.

“These in-person Commencement ceremonies have been planned with the assumption that we are able to return to large in-person gatherings by that point in time,” Dell’Omo said. “Should the coronavirus pandemic continue into the fall, we will need to re-evaluate this once again.”

In his message to the campus community, Dell’Omo thanked student leaders, whose input, he said, reflected a clear desire to hold in-person ceremonies with their families in attendance at some point before the end of the calendar year.

Graduating students will receive their actual diplomas ahead of the ceremonies. They should arrive in the mail this summer. Dell’Omo pledged to share more information about obtaining academic attire to those who plan to attend as the rescheduled dates get closer.

More information will be available at For specific questions about Commencement, please email [email protected].