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Williams College has canceled its commencement and reunion for this June.

Williams College Cancels Commencement, Reunion Weekend

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College President Maud Mandel on Friday sent a community-wide email announcing that school's commencement and reunion weekend weekend will not take place as scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Seniors, while I am heartbroken that graduation cannot happen in the conventional way at the conventional time, I am determined that you will have your moment," Mandel wrote. "Rather than deciding for you what that should look like, my colleagues and I want to start by asking you."
 
Mandel announced that members of the Class of 2020 will receive a survey seeking their ideas about alternative ways to celebrate their graduation from the liberal arts college.
 
Traditionally, commencement exercises are followed one week later by the reunion weekend, which invites back alumni from across generations with particular efforts to bring back members marking signficant class anniversaries — fifth, 10th, 15th, etc.
 
"My heart goes out especially to the class of 1970, whose own senior spring term was canceled due to protests over the bombing of Cambodia, and who are now having their 50th reunion disrupted by a global pandemic," Mandel said. "I promise that we will find other ways to celebrate these milestone anniversaries, which are so important to alumni and college alike."
 
Like the graduating seniors, the alumni in key classes will be contacted by the college to seek alternatives, according to Mandel's email.
 
Mandel early last month announced that the school would be moving to a remote instruction model after classes ended on Friday, March 13. The overwhelming majority of students were told to vacate their college housing by March 17. A handful of international students with more difficult travel plans were excepted from the March 17 date.
 
Commencement had been scheduled for Saturday, June 7.

Tags: COVID-19,   Williams College,   


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County's Colleges Train Workers for Post-Pandemic Economy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's institutions of higher education are ready to do their part to help their students navigate their way through a post-COVID-19 economy.
 
On Friday, the presidents of Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College and the provost of Bard College at Simon's Rock participated in a virtual town hall hosted by 1Berkshire.
 
Johnathan Butler led the hourlong conversation, which focused largely on how colleges are adapting to the current closure of their physical campuses and making plans for the fall 2020 semester.
 
But at one point Butler asked how the schools are situated to help address workforce development needs at a time when Berkshire County has nearly 30 percent unemployment.
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