Celebrate the Class of 2020

Join us in celebrating Oberlin graduates and honoring the Class of 2020! We are very proud of their accomplishments and want to send them best wishes as they virtually cross the stage and take their Oberlin education into the world. 



Dear Class of 2020 and families,
It is amazing that we have already entered early May and the end of the semester is near! We are writing to share more updates about commencement celebrations for the Class of 2020.

We know that we cannot recreate every aspect of Commencement/Reunion Weekend, but still want to find ways for all graduating Obies to connect, share experiences, and celebrate their achievements. We have outlined some of our plans to help bring together the Class of 2020 in these difficult circumstances.

Class of 2020 Virtual Yearbook and Care Packages
In the coming weeks, you will receive a package including a cap, tassel, and other celebratory items honoring your achievements. Diplomas will be sent once all semester completion dates have passed. Please be sure that you have responded to the Registrar's emails requesting your current mailing address.

Leaders from the Class of 2020 have been spearheading a virtual yearbook, which will debut on Monday, May 25. In the coming days, you will receive information on how to submit yearbook information via your Oberlin email.  

If you would like to order a gown through Ben Franklin, please order online. Caps and tassels will be included in the care package from the College free of charge. When ordering, please note the “Event Date” indicates the date you would like your purchase to arrive at your home. If you would like to have your gown by May 25, we recommend placing your order by May 11 to allow for a two-week delivery window.

Senior Week & Commencement Celebrations
Stay tuned to the Commencement website and your Oberlin email for information on Senior Week, department celebrations, and or open houses. If you have specific questions, please reach out to your department chair or group leader.

Senior Class Gift
The Class of 2020 is raising money to help make Oberlin more financially accessible for all students. Join us by making a gift to student scholarships, or any other fund, department, or organization on campus. Seniors who donate a total of $20 before the end of the academic year—or make a recurring gift of at least $5 a quarter—will receive a Philanthropy Cord in their Graduate Care Package.

To make a one-time or recurring gift, please go to today! If you’d like to learn more or check out the current totals for the Senior Class Gift, please go to .

Class of 2020 Banner Design Competition
The tradition of class banners dates back to the late 1800s and even though we won’t be gathering this May, it is an important tradition to uphold. To submit a design and learn about design requirements, please refer to the announcement. The submission deadline has been extended to May 22.

Monday, May 25: Commencement Day Experience
To mark 10 a.m., Monday, May 25, we will post a special virtual celebration and release the Class of 2020 Virtual Yearbook. In addition, the Class of 2020 is invited to return to campus to participate in the Commencement ceremony in May 2021. More details will be forthcoming about this year’s schedule of events.

Get Social!
Make sure to follow oc_2020grads on Instagram and Facebook, and keep your eyes on your Oberlin email for more updates and information!

Class of 2020 Commencement Planning Team
Tori Adams ’20
Eder Aguilar ‘20
Jessica Bayer Crissman
Nathan Carpenter ‘20
Darian Gray ‘20
Michael Grzesiak
Lauren Haynes
Ben Jones ‘96
Chunlin Li ‘20
Naeisha McClain ‘20
Meredith Raimondo
Cecilia Robinson ‘80
Brian Smith ‘20
Emily Speerbrecher
Troy Stephenson ‘20

Dear Oberlin College Community,

Each May members of the Oberlin community gather on Tappan Square to celebrate the achievements of our graduating class. We reconnect with our alumni who return to Oberlin to commune at reunions, reinforcing for themselves the specialness of this place.

It is very disappointing to say that this year, we will be unable to experience Commencement/Reunion Weekend in the same way, due to the impact of the coronavirus.

At Oberlin, I recognize the endless ripples this decision will create for seniors, who fully deserve recognition for their academic and musical accomplishments. Parents, grandparents, and other family members, even the city of Oberlin, all will be impacted. The ramifications reflect the importance of a weekend that is distinctly Oberlin.

We are making two promises to the Class of 2020 and their families. First, we are working hard to plan a virtual way to mark May 25, 2020, that reflects the student-first orientation of Commencement. We have what we believe to be a great idea, but we would like to work with Student Senate before we unveil it.

Secondly, we will host a combined Commencement weekend for the Class of 2020 with that of the Class of 2021. This also will be a first reunion for the Class of 2020, and we will assemble a group of students from this class to help plan the weekend.

For the 50th reunion class of 1970, we would like to invite you back to celebrate with the Class of 2020 in 2021. Given the overwhelming size of a joint reunion with all the clusters from 2020 and 2021, Advancement staff will be working with alumni leadership to determine what may be possible for other reunion classes who will miss this year’s weekend. Continue to monitor the Commencement/Reunion website for additional information.

For the alumni who planned a return to Oberlin, we know this news is also disappointing, but hopefully heartening as well. We know you visit campus as often as you can and have built lasting friendships that are rooted in Oberlin. This will be a new way to celebrate together. 

I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about what makes Oberlin so special. Our students are largely scattered across the United States right now. Yesterday, our dedicated faculty launched 500 remote learning classes, including a number dedicated to studying various societal impacts of COVID-19. Most of the classes proceeded without complications, as a number of faculty had reached out to students beforehand to test the Zoom remote software. In the Oberlin Conservatory, we distributed equipment and instruments to make it possible for faculty and students to continue private lessons and coachings remotely, and we updated our curriculum and policies for the semester so that students could complete their recitals and other performance requirements.  In addition, the Student Life division created an entirely new way for students to participate in the Oberlin Community. I hope you take a few minutes to experience the remote gathering place we call ‘‘RemObies.’’

Our staff has worked around the clock, seven days a week to implement changes that safeguard the very institution we hold dear. Our alumni have sent notes of support.

In these unprecedented times, even as we have had to be apart, we have pulled together in extraordinary ways.

I am already looking forward to the coming months when we will have the opportunity to be together in person again and enjoy our Oberlin community. Until then, I wish you and your families good health, safety, and peace.

Carmen Twillie Ambar

Reunion Giving

Oberlin has a long history of alumni leaving their legacy through collective philanthropy. Over and above continuing your support of the Annual Fund, each class establishes a legacy in championing the next generation of Obies! Your reunion gift is a powerful way for you to be involved in the life of the college and conservatory and demonstrates your continued commitment to the outstanding educational experience that Oberlin offers, guaranteeing that the students of today and tomorrow will be able to enjoy the transformational experiences that Oberlin provided in your life. As your reunion approaches, we hope you will consider how a new or increased gift to Oberlin can honor your past while supporting the college’s future.

All donations of any designation made prior to Commencement Reunion Weekend will automatically be credited toward your class or cluster gift. Support Oberlin by:

  • Making a gift when you register for reunion weekend
  • Visiting to give securely online
  • Calling (800) 693-3167 to make your gift via phone
  • Emailing for questions regarding planned giving, gifts by stock, and employee matching gifts
  • Sending a check made payable to:
    • Oberlin College
      PO Box 72110
      Cleveland, OH 44192-0002