A Message from President Birge

Dear Trailblazers, Friends, and MCLA Community:

I want to extend my gratitude to all of you for adapting to the major disruption and challenges that have been presented to our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been a difficult time for everybody and I greatly appreciate the understanding, flexibility, and patience that I have witnessed from students, families, and dedicated faculty, staff, and alumni.

I write to update you on our plans to celebrate your commencement. As you know, COVID-19 continues to impact our day-to-day lives and strict limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings remain in place. We genuinely hoped that by May we would be able to move forward with our traditional commencement ceremonies.  However, given the continued uncertainty with COVID-19 restrictions and the delay in delivering the vaccine, MCLA has decided to invest the resources necessary to move forward with a high quality virtual ceremony for both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. Commencement is the highlight of the year for our graduating students and the entire MCLA community looks forward to celebrating you on this important day. More information on these ceremonies is forthcoming.

We look forward to honoring and celebrating the outstanding achievements of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 during such challenging times. I hope all of you and your loved ones are continuing to persevere and remain in good health and spirits.


James F. Birge, Ph.D.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

375 Church Street 
North Adams, MA 01247 

“National Top Ten 
Public Liberal Arts College”
2020-2021 US News & World Report

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.