April 15, 2020


For the first time in its long history, Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will hold combined commencement exercises for two classes, 2020 and 2021, in May 2021. This unprecedented action has been taken in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by the global pandemic.

In a letter sent to graduating students and their families on April 15, HCHC President George M. Cantonis stressed that this “profoundly difficult decision” was based on current CDC public health recommendations for maintaining social distancing and other restrictions well into May. After consulting with the other members of HCHC’s administration and also listening to the graduating students themselves, “We decided to invite everyone back to campus for a historic joint graduation of the classes of 2020 and 2021 in May 2021,” President Cantonis wrote. “We envision this as both a postponed Commencement ceremony and a one-year reunion for the Class of 2020.” Degrees for 2020 graduates will still be conferred as soon as they have completed all requirements for graduation. 

President Cantonis went on to acknowledge Commencement as “a sacred time that we all share across the HCHC community as a way of recognizing and celebrating the remarkable achievements and diligent work of our newest graduates. Yet we are in a time in history that demands—first and foremost—the protection and safety of our students and their families. My heart truly aches knowing that we will not be able to celebrate together in person next month.” He praised this year’s graduating students’ “resilience and ability to persevere through trying times” and told them that “there is no doubt in my mind that you will use these strengths to learn and to grow. Perhaps for some of you, it may even alter the course of your lives in a positive way, whether that comes in the form of discovering new ways to fight this disease, exploring innovative solutions to help safeguard the public from future pandemics, finding new ways to educate students—or it may simply renew your spirit of empathy and compassion.”