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A Letter from President Boston about Commencement 2020

March 20, 2020.

It is with a heavy heart that I write you to let you know that we have cancelled the 2020 Commencement ceremony scheduled for May 16 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. We have taken this step to ensure the health and safety of you and your families in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commencement ceremony has always been a special moment for me because I am able to meet and put a face to the students who have worked so tirelessly to reach a personal milestone and walk that stage. Most of you have juggled home, work, and personal obligations to achieve this goal. It is also a proud moment for the faculty, deans, provost, and me knowing the grit and resilience that brought you to this moment.

As we face this challenge together, we know it pales to the challenges that many of you face. We are proud of the fact that many of you serve our country in multiple ways whether it's on the battlefield, in emergency management, nursing, law enforcement, national security, transportation and logistics, intelligence, teaching, and far too many other professions to name. You are the face of our institution and we are grateful for what you do. Though we will not be together in person for graduation in May, we will continue to serve you from our homes.

This year has been special for me, as it marks my last as university president and I begin my next chapter in life in retirement. So, I share your disappointment that we will not experience this moment together. I know you have many questions, so I thought I would provide answers in anticipation of your thoughts.

Will Commencement 2020 be rescheduled for a date later in the year?

At this time, we believe that it is impossible to plan to hold an in-person event this year. It is uncertain when mass gatherings will be considered safe again, and our venue is booked out years in advance. Maryland's governor has issued an executive order banning gatherings of more than 10 people and has ordered restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues to close.

Will there be a virtual Commencement?

We are working on that and hope to share good news with you in the coming weeks.

Will I be able to participate in the 2021 Commencement ceremony?

We will extend invitations to all 2020 graduates to participate in the 2021 Commencement, which is scheduled for May 21-22, 2021, at the Gaylord in National Harbor, MD.

Will I still receive my diploma?

Official diplomas are mailed after each conferral. For more information on diplomas, please view your student handbook.

Please remember that our Student Support Center team is available, if you have further questions. Please email

You will also hear from our alumni team with an invitation to continue your AMU journey as a member of the university alumni.

For additional questions and more information, please visit the Commencement 2020 FAQ.

Our nation and our world have been tested in unprecedented ways. I take comfort knowing that the commitment you exhibited working toward this achievement is indicative of your tenacity in life. We will continue to keep you informed about our plans and hope that you, your family, and friends are able to remain healthy and safe.


Dr. Wallace E. Boston, Jr.