53rd Commencement

Join us in celebration of the Class of 2020 for the 53rd commencement exercises of Holy Cross College on Saturday, September 5, at 2:00 p.m. ET! To watch the event virtually, click here.

The college is pleased to confer honorary degrees to John Affleck-Graves, Sister M. Elise Kriss, O.S.F., and George Martin, Ph.D.

Affleck-Graves, who will deliver the commencement address, was elected Executive Vice President for the University of Notre Dame in 2004 by the Board of Trustees, and held the office until his retirement in 2019. In his role, he oversaw the operating budget, endowment, finance, information technology, human resources, campus safety, event management, construction, building services, landscaping, food services and auxiliary operations, including the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Morris Inn, and licensing. A native of South Africa and a naturalized U.S. citizen, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance and doctorate in mathematical statistics from the University of Cape Town. He is the first layman to serve as Notre Dame’s executive vice president, following Congregation of Holy Cross Revs. Edmund Joyce, E. William Beauchamp and Timothy Scully. He and wife Rita, have two daughters, both Notre Dame graduates.

Sister M. Elise Kriss, O.S.F., is a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and recently retired from the University of Saint Francis after 27 years of service as the University President. Before being named President, she held several administrative positions at the University including Vice President for Administration, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Undergraduate Dean. Sister Elise also served as Principal of Saint Mary School, Griffith, Indiana, and taught for eight years in grades five through eight. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from Saint Louis University (1984), a Master of Science in Education from Saint Francis College (1978), and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Saint Francis College (1973). Under her leadership, Saint Francis College transitioned to the University of Saint Francis; enrollment grew from approximately 1,000 students to over 2,300.

George E. Martin, Ph.D., has been president of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, since 1999. During this time, full-time undergraduate enrollment doubled and the graduation rate improved by 25 points, significantly exceeding national and Texas rates. The university is a top ten producer nationally of Fulbright student scholars, with 70 students winning Fulbrights since 2008. Currently the university is ranked 8th in the West by U.S. News & World Report. In the last decade, St. Edward’s has been transformed into a global campus, with an international student population that has almost tripled and a network of 22 partner universities in 17 countries in Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Fordham University, a Master of Arts in Political Science from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. John’s University. He also participated in the Harvard University Institute for College and University Presidents.

Caleb Mishler, of Elkhart, Indiana, is this year’s valedictorian. He received the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Business and minors in Information Technology and Marketing. During his undergraduate years, he participated in a variety of activities including Vice President of the Student Government Association and Resident Assistant.

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Dear Class of 2020,

We hope you have found great success on your journey forward from Holy Cross College. It has been a challenging summer filled with anxiety about the fall, but we are forging ahead with a fall semester of in-person instruction and are excited to welcome all of you back for in-person commencement ceremonies.

Our highest priority is the health and safety of the College community and that has required tough decisions along with constant flexibility. While we will continue our plans for the 53rd Commencement on campus, we need to adapt to our constantly changing environment due to COVID-19. The state of Indiana is currently at stage 4.5 of the Back on Track Indiana plan, which limits events to 250 people. Since we do not know if this stage will be upgraded to Stage 5 that could increase the capacity limit, we are going to plan our commencement exercises around the 250-limit at gatherings.

Here is the plan outline – more details will come from the College in the next few days:

  • All graduates will have access to 2 graduation tickets. We will live-stream and record the ceremony so that all of your family and friends may view it.
  • All visitors will need to do a health screening check upon entry to campus.
  • Masks will be required.
  • The commencement ceremony will take place outdoors. In the case of inclement weather, everyone will be moved inside.
  • In the evening, we will have a firework display on campus for everyone to enjoy.

We know that these limits and restrictions are likely disappointing to you, as they are for me, as I would like nothing more than to host all of your friends and family to celebrate your great achievement. Since the end of the spring semester, it has been my great desire to host a Welcome Home Weekend for this class, to celebrate all the amazing things you have done during your time at Holy Cross College. I intend to make that dream a reality, and hope that you will join me in making the most of this unique situation.

In Holy Cross,

Father David T. Tyson, C.S.C.

Dear Parents,

It has been a challenging summer filled with anxiety about the fall, but we are forging ahead with a fall semester of in-person instruction and are excited to welcome all of you back for in-person commencement ceremonies.

Our highest priority is the health and safety of the College community and that has required tough decisions along with constant flexibility. While we will continue our plans for the 53rd Commencement on campus, we need to adapt to our constantly changing environment due to COVID-19. The state of Indiana is currently at stage 4.5 of the Back on Track Indiana plan, which limits events to 250 people. Since we do not know if this stage will be upgraded to Stage 5 that could increase the capacity limit, we are going to plan our commencement exercises around the 250-limit at gatherings.

Here is the plan outline – more details will come from the College in the next few days:

  • All graduates will have access to 2 graduation tickets. We will live-stream and record the ceremony so that all of your family and friends may view it.
  • All visitors will need to do a health screening check upon entry to campus.
  • Masks will be required.
  • The commencement ceremony will take place outdoors. In the case of inclement weather, everyone will be moved inside.
  • In the evening, we will have a firework display on campus for everyone to enjoy.

We know that these limits and restrictions are likely disappointing to you, as they are for me, as I would like nothing more than to host all of your graduate’s family and friends to celebrate this great achievement. Since the end of the spring semester, it has been my great desire to host a Welcome Home Weekend for this class, to celebrate all the amazing things they have done during their time at Holy Cross College. I intend to make that dream a reality, and hope that you will join me in making the most of this unique situation.

In Holy Cross,

Father David T. Tyson, C.S.C.

Report to the Vincent Atrium by 1:15 pm for robing and alphabetically line-up. TWO GUESTS FOR EACH GRADUATE MAY BE SEATED UNDER THE EVENT TENT AT 1:00 PM. **In the event of inclement weather, line-up will take place in Pfeil Center**

Procession begins PROMPTLY at 1:55 pm.

PARKING
Guests may park in the Holy Cross College off-campus student parking lot, located on the far east side of campus.

SUGGESTED ATTIRE
Appropriate dress is business to business casual attire. Please no jeans, sweats, athletic shoes. Note that graduates will ascend and descend stairs, so flats and low heals are recommended.

ROBING AND LINE-UP
**ALL STUDENTS MUST BRING THE REGALIA MAILED TO THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN GRADUATION. There is no extra regalia on hand for student use.**

Please report to the Vincent Atrium at 1:15 pm. for robing and ALPHABETICAL line-up. Your guests are invited to be seated under the event tent at this time.

Do not bring valuables, as there will be no secure place for purses, backpacks, etc.

Graduates should wear their retainable cap and gown, along with Stole of Gratitude*, honors chords, DES chords, and Psi Chi chords.
*Stoles of Gratitude will be distributed at line-up.

Caps may be decorated in a tasteful manner.

WHITE CAP TASSELS should be placed on the RIGHT side of the cap. Once degrees are conferred, graduates will be instructed to move tassel to the left side of cap.

Graduates will line up alphabetically, in single file, behind the Registrar, flag bearers, and student presenters. Process to the event tent.

CEREMONY
Names of each graduate will be taped on the graduate chairs in the Pfeil Center; please have a seat in the chair with your name.

The Registrar will invite each row of graduates to stand at the appropriate time, to proceed to the stage. Names will be read alphabetically. Proceed across the stage, receive your diploma, stop for one moment, look off stage, and smile —your photo will taken while you shake hands with the college president. Descend from the stage and reclaim your seat.

POST COMMENCEMENT
Registrar Harrison will instruct students to stand and recess out of event tent. Recessional will end at Millennium Arch where a Class of 2020 group photo will be taken.

At 7:30 p.m. graduates and guests are invited to attend HoCro Nation for fun, food, and fireworks, in honor of the Class of 2020.