COVID-19 Update: Campus operations this fall and new Commencement date

Dear Marquette community:

Recent weeks have been filled with great uncertainty as we have navigated the global COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that this time has been stressful for our students, staff and faculty, as we have experienced these same feelings. We are writing today to offer a path forward so, together, we can plan for a recovery that leads us toward a common goal of being an even stronger, mission-based community than we were before this crisis.

Marquette University will resume campus operations this fall if governmental and medical authorities say it is safe to do so. A personalized, on-campus academic and co curricular experience is foundational to the transformative Catholic, Jesuit education to which Marquette has been dedicated for 140 years. The best way for us to provide a distinctive experience for our students is together, in community.

To prepare a safe living and learning environment that aligns with the state of Wisconsin’s “Badger Bounce Back” plan, the Marquette University COVID-19 Response Team and its sub-committees, which include more than 100 leaders across campus, are working on a five-step recovery plan. The plan will establish the key responsibilities, timelines and general procedures we will follow during Marquette’s recovery efforts.

As we have stated from the beginning of this global crisis, Marquette will always prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our campus and broader communities. Our recovery will include processes and policies related to COVID-19 testing, social distancing, space and equipment sanitizing, and personal protective equipment usage to comply with government and health guidelines. We are exploring adjustments to many aspects of the campus experience, from large lectures to university-sponsored travel to dining and residence hall use. To protect the most vulnerable members of our community, we will work with those individuals who may have underlying medical conditions to ensure they can return to campus safely.

To aid in our collective planning, the COVID-19 Response Team will solicit input on recovery efforts and share information on the university’s pandemic response to date at a virtual COVID-19 Town Hall for the campus community on Friday, May 1, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please RSVP and submit questions for this Microsoft Teams Live event by Thursday, April 30. We hope you will join us and share the input we need to continue to move forward.

A link to join the Microsoft Teams Live event will be emailed to all attendees the morning of Friday, May 1. We will provide additional opportunities for input on recovery planning and communicate frequently on this topic in the months ahead.

Commencement rescheduled to August 30
There have been many questions about Commencement — one of the year’s most anticipated events. Following the postponement of this year’s ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marquette conducted a survey of graduating students on how best to celebrate the Class of 2020. Approximately 1,800 undergraduate, graduate and professional students completed the survey. An overwhelming majority of students reported a strong preference for an in-person ceremony when it is safe to gather.

Based on this feedback and knowing that Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work for our graduates and sacrifice for their families, we are planning to host an in-person Commencement ceremony on Sunday, August 30, at Fiserv Forum. Individual students will be recognized as they cross the stage. Only the professional schools — School of Dentistry, Law School and Health Sciences professional degrees — will host their own ceremonies. The individual colleges will host receptions during the August 29–30 weekend. Baccalaureate Mass will be held Saturday, August 29, at 4 p.m., at the Al McGuire Center.

Any of our plans may need to change based on government and health official guidelines, so we ask for your continued patience and flexibility. If future guidance requires a different action, the safety of our students, faculty and staff will be the most important factor in our decisions. Please visit Marquette’s COVID-19 website for more information or to submit a question.

St. Ignatius never pulled back from the challenges he confronted. Constantly seeking the greater glory of God, he called upon the Jesuits to “live with one foot raised” — always ready to change course and step forward to embrace a new way of life. In that spirit, and with your input, we are prepared to adapt to our changing realities while continuing to move the Marquette community forward together.

Thank you for your resilience and your commitment to our mission during these challenging times. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus in August.

We are Marquette!

Dr. Michael R. Lovell

Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Joel Pogodzinski
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer