graduation cap collage
Photo credit: Courtesy of Oberlin College

Commencement

Oberlin College is excited to welcome the Class of 2020 back to campus for a class celebration and special commencement ceremony on Saturday, October 16. In addition to a day filled with dedicated events for the Class of 2020, class members are also invited to participate in Homecoming activities taking place over the weekend.

Commencement for the Class of 2022 will be held on Sunday, June 5, 2022. Details will be posted to this site as they become available.

Registration deadlines approaching!

IMPORTANT: Participation in the Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration may require as many as four (4) SEPARATE actions depending upon your situation.

  1. Register as a graduate to participate in the Special Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony (Graduates must be pre-registered in order to participate in the special commencement ceremony)
  2. Register for Class of 2020 celebratory events and activities (view the detailed schedule of event)
  3. Reserve hotel accommodations at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel (more information below)
  4. Optional: Purchase academic regalia for the commencement ceremony

Important Deadlines

Commencement Ceremony Registration: Tuesday, September 28

Purchase optional academic regalia: Friday, October 1

Reserve hotel accommodations in the Class of 2020 room block: Wednesday, October 6

Celebratory events and activities: Friday, October 8

Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration FAQs

The list below will continually be updated as new information becomes available and event details are finalized.

What is the schedule of activities for this celebration of the Class of 2020?

View the detailed schedule

Graduation Celebration Schedule | Saturday, October 16
8:30 AM – First shuttle departs Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel, headed toward Oberlin. Complimentary scheduled shuttle bus service will be offered on Saturday, October 16, 2021 for members of the Class of 2020.

10 – 11 AM – Class of 2020 Welcome Breakfast

11 – 11:30 AM – Pre-Ceremony Check-in
Graduates will check-in and recieve instructions about where to line up for the commencement processional. 

Noon – Special Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony
The ceremony will include a processional, commencement address by President Carmen Twillie Ambar, remarks by class representative Naeisha McClain '20, reading of graduate names, and a ceremonial photo opportunity as graduates walk across the stage. NOTE: Graduates must check-in on Saturday morning in order to participate in the special commencement ceremony.  Please note that ceremony registration is separate from other Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration activities.

Register here  |  Deadline to register: Tuesday, September 28

1:30 – 2:30 PM – Unity Celebration
Additional information will be distributed by the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC)
Questions? Please contact the MRC at mrc@oberlin.edu.

1:30 – 3 PM – Black Family Appreciation Ceremony and Luncheon
Additional information will be distributed by the Africana Studies Department.
Questions? Please contact Director and Faculty in Residence, Candice Raynor at craynor@oberlin.edu.

1:30 – 3 PM – Homecoming Tailgate sponsored by the Heisman Club

6 – 7:30 PM – Social Hour and Toast to the Class of 2020 hosted by President Ambar

7 – 10 PM – Class of 2020 Wilder Bowl Party

11:30 PM – Last Shuttle to Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hote

Interested in other activities during Homecoming Weekend? Visit the Homecoming website.

When and where will the 2020 special commencement ceremony be held?

The ceremony will be held on campus at noon on Saturday, October 16, with the specific campus location to be identified in consultation with local health officials as we get closer to the event date.

Members of the Class of 2020, guests, and all participants in the ceremony will be required to comply with current campus COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

What is special about this commencement ceremony?

Alumni from the Class of 2020 are involved in the planning of this distinctive ceremony. The program will feature remarks from President Carmen Twillie Ambar and class representative Naeisha McClain '20, in addition to music, individual acknowledgement of graduates in attendance, and other elements of a traditional commencement ceremony.

Academic regalia is optional; however, class members are welcome to wear caps and gowns for the ceremony. Members of the Class of 2020 may also consider bringing their mortarboards and tassels, previously mailed to them as part of their graduation packages, to wear during the ceremony.

View regalia prices

Student regalia can be ordered from Ben Franklin at benfranklinoberlin.storenvy.com.

Questions? Contact Ben Franklin directly at benfranklinoberlinoh@gmail.com or 440.774.5711 for additional information. The deadline for ordering regalia from Ben Franklin is Friday, October 1.

Who is the commencement speaker?

President Ambar wanted to share this moment with the Class of 2020 and has requested the honor of this opportunity to be their commencement speaker. 

From her first moments on campus President Amber has felt an unbreakable bond with Obies. This journey with the Class of 2020 has been remarkable. From events at her residence, her inauguration, sporting events, student organization get-togethers, music-dance and theatre concerts, lectures, and classroom visits, her time with the Class of 2020 has been memorable. But, it may be what became of the senior year of the Class of 2020 that has left an indelible mark on these Obies and President Ambar. This unprecedented journey with the Class of 2020 is one that can only be understood by the people who lived it. 

Naeisha McClain '20 will also be featured as the Class of 2020 speaker.

Are faculty invited?

All faculty will be invited to participate in the ceremony.

If you are a member of the Class of 2020 returning for the celebration, you might want to reach out to specific faculty members to let them know your plans to be back in Oberlin.

When and where do graduates check-in?

Check-in will take place in the Root Room in Carnegie Building at 11:00 a.m.

Graduates will be invited back for a light morning breakfast, preceding official check-in for the ceremony.

How long will the ceremony last?

The ceremony will last approximately an hour.

How do I register?

Registration is open for all Class of 2020 celebratory events and activities.

Separate registration will be required for:

Special Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony | Closes Tuesday, September 28

Hotel accommodations | Closes Wednesday, October 6

Certain on-campus events | Closes Friday, October 8

The Class of 2020 received registration information in an email on Friday, September 10. 

Will the special commencement ceremony be ticketed?

Graduates will be required to register in order to participate in the commencement ceremony.

No tickets are necessary. We are providing seating for up to four guests per member of the Class of 2020. There will be a limited mobility section.

Where should I park on campus?

There will be parking on and around campus, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserved spaces will be available for accessible parking.

Will the commencement ceremony be live-streamed?

Yes. The link for the livestream will be available on this website on Saturday, October 16.

Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?

Yes, there will be a photographer, and photos will be made available for participants.

Are there any hotel accommodations available? 

We are pleased to share that Oberlin has coordinated room accommodations with the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel and will provide one free hotel night, either on October 15 or October 16, exclusively for the personal use of each member of the Class of 2020 returning for the celebration

Additionally, the college has negotiated a discounted rate of $99 per night (plus taxes and fees) exclusively for members of the Oberlin Class of 2020 who want to stay a second night, subject to availability. 

If you stay one night (either October 15 or October 16), it will be provided to you by Oberlin; if you stay two nights (October 15 and 16), your first night will be complimentary and you will be able to obtain the second night at the discounted rate, subject to reservation deadlines and availability. 

Hotel reservations need to be made by members of the Class of 2020 using the special link below. Please note you will need to provide a credit card number to reserve your room. Guests are responsible for incidental expenses. NOTE: When complete the transaction, you are not being charged the amount shown. This is just a confirmation, not a receipt. Oberlin will be charged for your "free" night, and you will be charged for the second night, once you have checked out.

Book your room

Please note:

  • The complimentary room is available only for the personal use of Class of 2020 graduates returning to campus for the celebration of the Class of 2020.
  • A credit card will be required upon placing room reservations, whether for the complimentary room or the complimentary room and an additional night.
  • Guests will be responsible for all incidental expenses associated with their stay when using the complimentary room provided by Oberlin (i.e., the college is paying  exclusively for room accommodation charges, limited to the room rate and any applicable taxes and fees associated with the provided complimentary room).

The college will be providing complimentary, scheduled shuttle bus transportation between the hotel and campus on Saturday, October 16. Additionally, the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel (which is located on Cleveland Hopkins International Airport property) has a shuttle that runs between the hotel and the airport terminal.

Is transportation available? 

Scheduled complimentary transportation between the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel and Oberlin will be provided throughout the day on Saturday, October 16, to enable class members staying at the hotel to attend some or all of the day’s activities. 

A shuttle schedule will be posted at a later date. 

How do COVID-19 health and safety protocols affect attendance at the ceremony and visitors to campus?

We are following CDC and local health officials’ guidelines. Detailed information about campus COVID-19 health and safety protocols can be found on the ObieSafe website.

Given the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, please be sure to check the site for updates before visiting campus.