Thursday, March 26, 2020
An Update from SMCC President Dr. Shari Olson
Regarding Cancellation of Commencement

Dear Students,

In a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, it’s difficult to continue to share disappointing news, but that’s what we have to do this morning as the Maricopa County Community College District has made the decision to cancel this year’s in-person commencement ceremony.

Please take some time to review and absorb the message that is being communicated below.

I know this will cause great heartache for our graduates who were looking forward to the ceremony, and it does for me personally, as well. As a proud community college president, one of the most amazing honors I have is to stand on that stage during graduation, greet every one of you personally and hand you your diploma, and share in the joy I see in your faces, and in the faces of your friends and families who have come to celebrate your success.

But I know the disappointment I feel is nothing compared to your own.

There are moments though, again, unprecedented as they are, where sacrifices have to be made for the greater good, and when it comes to the health and safety of our classmates and colleagues, and our friends and families, that has to take primacy. With the Coronavirus looming, this is one of those moments.

I know it is cold comfort to you now, but I hope that you can find strength rather than bitterness in decisions such as these: strength in knowing that there are things more important than tradition; strength in knowing how much we all care about your health and safety; strength in knowing how proud we are of you as graduates, taking what you have learned into the greater world, to wherever you go and whatever you do, to make the remarkable impact we know you can make.

There will be more opportunities in the future to come together and celebrate your achievements, maybe not this spring, but hopefully still within 2020.

In the meantime, please stay healthy and safe and know that my heart is with you.


Dr. Shari Olson
South Mountain Community College