Bagpipe players at graduation with President Birge at the gate



This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we won’t be able to celebrate commencement in the traditional way. However, we will make things as special as we possibly can for all of our graduating students. Both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 will have a virtual commencement ceremony. The ceremonies will take place: 

Class of 2021 Saturday, May 15, 2021   1 P.M. 
Class of 2020 Sunday, May 16, 2021     1 P.M. 

We are focused on celebration, the sense of occasion, being with friends and recognizing your unique place in MCLA’s history. The resilient Class of 2021 and 2020 will be forever immortalized! Our wish is to create a memorable, uplifting moment for you.

We want you to look forward with confidence, look forward to graduating and look forward to your future! We are delighted to welcome you to your virtual graduation. Congratulations!

Honorary Degree Recipients

The Commencement speaker for the Class of 2020 will be Dr. Mary Dana Hinton, president of Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., and an active and respected proponent of the liberal arts and inclusion. Dr. Hinton will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Jenn Smith, a deeply experienced journalist who began her career at the Berkshire Eagle before becoming engagement editor at the Seattle Times, will receive an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree.  

Ty Allan Jackson, an award-winning children’s book author, literacy advocate, and captivating motivational speaker who travels around the country inspiring children and educating adults about the impacts of illiteracy, will serve as Commencement speaker for the Class of 2021, and will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Stephen Boyd, CEO of Boyd Technologies in Lee a co-founder and Board Chair of the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) who has dedicated his career to advancing economic development in the Berkshires, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. 

Learn More About The Honorary Degree Recipients HERE

MCLA graduate holding her diploma

How will you be recognized?

It’s all about you!

See how it works

PERSONAL INVITATION - On Wednesday, March 31 you will receive an email to your MCLA email address with a link to upload a photo, personal message, and/or 10 second video.  Your personal messages will be included in the ceremony for all to see.

If you cannot locate your personal invitation to upload content for the virtual graduation, please be sure to first check your spam/junk mail folder. You can also visit and enter your MCLA email address to request that a new invitation be sent.  Remember, your invitation is unique to you, please do not share your link with other graduates.

VIRTUAL CEREMONY – We will use your custom content and put you in the graduation procession with your fellow classmates.  On the big day, invite your friends and family to join!

OUR GIFT TO YOU – Keep an eye on your mailbox! MCLA will be sending each graduate from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 a celebration box with festive gifts, your official MCLA diploma cover, and commencement program. 
You’ll also receive your personal StageClip – an individual recognition video clip which celebrates your achievement which will be available to share directly to your social media feed. Share it proudly!

Conferral of a degree occurs when the registrar finalizes the students’ academic record and confirms that all requirements have been satisfied. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not constitute conferral of the degree. Similarly, inclusion of a student’s name in such publications as the commencement program does not confirm eligibility for the degrees. 

The Ceremony

Prior to commencement day, we will share the link to the landing page for your celebration. It will also be posted on this commencement landing page. To be a part of our live social media feed, please use the hashtag #MCLACommencement2021 and #MCLACommencement2020. Posts will pop up on the landing page in real time.

During the procession each graduates’ StageClip – your individual recognition page – will be featured. You will be able to share these to social media following the celebration. 

After the Ceremony

Following each commencement ceremony, graduates will have the opportunity to say goodbye to faculty and staff. Join us at 3 PM for a celebratory zoom meeting with break out rooms for each department and a variety of offices on campus. 

Class of 2021 Register HERE

Class of 2020 Register HERE

When you enter the zoom, please ‘Rename’ yourself with the academic discipline breakout room you would like to be placed in. Once you are in break out rooms, you will be free to move to others. 

Academic Ceremonies 

2020 Academic Ceremonies, such as stole’s and honors societies, are at the discretion of the advisors. There is a quick reference chart below where you may see if your program has already happened. Please check in with your program advisors for more information.

Group: Did a ceremony already happen:  When will there be a ceremony:  Contact Person: 
DGCE Spring 2020   Barb Emmanuel 
NRHH Spring 2020   Dianne Manning 
Lavender Graduation  Spring 2020    Christopher MacDonald-Dennis 
Honors Ceremony  Spring 2020    Viktoria Bates 
NSLS Induction  Spring 2020    Jenn Labbance 
WGSS Graduation Dinner    Yes, date TBD  Kerri Leyda Nicoll 
DGCE Baccalaureate   Yes, date TBD  Betty LeSage
Radiology Lead Collaring    Yes, date TBD Mackenzie Rumrill
Sigma Tau Delta    Yes, date TBD  Jennifer Dermady 
ALANA Stole Ceremony    Yes, week of 4/23 Arlene Theodore 
Delta Mu Delta    Yes, date TBD Nancy Ovitsky 
Pi Gamma Mu    May 4, 2021 Ingrid Castro 
Psi Chi   May 4, 2021 Sara Steele


Class of 2021 senior gift 

This year, the senior class is raising funds to gift the MCLA campus community with an outdoor encased campus map. This senior class gift will provide at least one campus map to be displayed, helping visitors and the community navigate our campus. Any senior gift of $25 or more will receive a Spirit Cord, which will be distributed to student mailboxes in April.  Make your gift HERE. 

Commencement FAQ’s

MCLA has been keeping a very close eye on the science and restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are too many safety uncertainties around COVID, and delaying the decision to later in the spring is untenable.

Yes, a variety of in-person options were considered. We have explored split ceremonies, different locations, drive through options, etc. and there are logistical and safety issues with all.

  • The Class of 2021 will take place Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 1 P.M.
  • The Class of 2020 will take place Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 1 P.M.
    • May 16, 2020 was the original date of the commencement ceremony. Class council felt it would nice to host the commencement one full year from what would have been the original date.
  • Yes, following the virtual ceremony we will host a Zoom Meeting with break out rooms by department so that you may say goodbye to the faculty in your discipline. You will be free to move around the breakout rooms and see other departments.
  • MCLA has partnered with a company, StageClip, which specializes in virtual Commencement ceremonies. There will be more details to come regarding how you will be able to upload a photo and other graduation information. Check out some of StageClip’s other graduation ceremonies here.