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Caltech's 127th Commencement Ceremony

March 04, 2021

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics
Date: March 4, 2021
Re: Caltech's 127th Commencement Ceremony

Commencement is a deeply treasured milestone for Caltech students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees. It is an opportunity for us to gather together to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our graduates and to wish them well as they begin the next chapters of their lives. For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic requires a reimagined celebration. To that end, we will hold a virtual degree conferral and graduation ceremony on Friday, June 11, 2021, coupled with plans for an in-person celebration for both the 2020 and 2021 graduates later in 2021. We welcome the opportunity to partner again with student leaders, staff, and faculty to produce warm and engaging events that bring together Caltech's extended community in these most deserved celebrations.

We all would have preferred to hold commencement in person, but a thousand members of our community congregating on campus in June is just not a viable possibility, even with the vaccine rollout starting to accelerate. At the same time, we are excited by the opportunity to harness digital magic to create a special graduation experience. By blending time-honored traditions with new, virtually enhanced elements, we are confident that we can cross the miles to create a personal and meaningful milestone celebration, while ensuring everyone's health and safety.

To help foster the special nature of the day, the Institute is pleased to provide regalia for all 2021 graduates. Graduating students can order complimentary regalia through the Caltech Store, beginning with the virtual Grad Fair in April. In addition, the undergraduate senior class presidents and the graduate deans' office will contact students expected to graduate this spring to solicit their perspectives on evocative ways to customize a virtual event.

We look forward to hosting an in-person campus celebration for the 2021 and 2020 graduates later in the year, when it is expected that public health conditions will allow us to gather more freely. More details on an event that will allow all of us to reconnect on campus as a community and to celebrate graduating cohorts affected by the pandemic will be shared as they develop. For more information and updates on Caltech's commencement festivities, please visit

Over the course of the last year, we have persevered. As individuals, and as a community, we have demonstrated the power of ingenuity, of discovery, and of collaboration in confronting the challenges of the day and in charting a new path forward. Our 2021 graduates embody this Caltech-defining determination and the will to succeed, and it is an honor for us to reflect on their achievements and to bid them farewell as they embark on the adventures ahead.