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Campus Traditions

A Message from Dean Shepardson

Dear Students,

Congratulations on finishing the spring semester and welcome to summer! I know it was not the semester you were hoping for, and the uncertainty of the future is difficult. Now that the trimester academic calendar has been released, I am writing to respond to your questions about campus traditions such as Spring Day and Senior Week. I know many of you receiving this email have graduated (Congratulations!). I wanted you to have this same information.

I want you to know I understand how important these traditions are to you. I am pretty sure I have attended more of these two traditions than almost anyone else! I look forward to them because I get to see you have fun, enjoy your classmates and notice how much you love Bentley. And I love the chance to spend time with you! These events build wonderful, lifelong memories. They are important to you, to me and to Bentley.

Traditions change over time, and each of these traditions has evolved over the past 27 years I have been involved in planning them. Next year, in 2020-21, we will have a new academic calendar, so we will have to adjust our traditions, building on what we love about them and incorporating new ideas.

We will also have to adjust to the public health orders related to the pandemic, and this may affect how we host events on campus. None of us knows now exactly how the pandemic will continue to affect us, but here is what I do know:

BAHAMAS TRIP FOR SENIORS: We will not be able to hold events in the way that we’ve done in the past. Unfortunately, this means we will not be able to hold the Bahamas trip for seniors going forward. Please know there are two important reasons for this:

  • We were fortunate this spring that our vendors refunded our deposits for the hotel and flights when we had to cancel them due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, even though the contracts had no-cancellation clauses. Looking ahead to next year, we are confident we won’t be able to obtain a refund if we have to cancel our travel plans again, and we can’t risk such a high cost.
  • Going forward, the academic calendar will no longer have a large gap between the end of finals and Commencement.  We won’t be able to schedule the trip.

1-YEAR BAHAMAS REUNIONS: We are looking at and very much hoping to have 1-year reunion events in 2021 (for the class of 2020) and in 2022 (for the class of 2021) at the Atlantis in the Bahamas.

  • The structure and coordination of these trips will be different enough that if public health orders force the trips to be canceled, students’ investments (and the university’s) will be protected.
  • The details are still being worked out, and we will work with the respective class cabinets and the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement. We will share more information when we have it.

SPRING DAY: The day on which Spring Day 2021 is held will change under the new academic calendar because the last Saturday in April, when it is now held, will occur after finals have concluded.

  • Although April is a busy month with religious holidays, Patriots' Day and the Boston Marathon, I am confident we’ll find a way to celebrate the end of the academic year together.

COMMENCEMENT: The date of Commencement 2021 will change along with some of the festivities around it given the new date just announced. The details of the event are also being worked out, and we will continue to work with the Senior Class Cabinet.

I know many things in your life have turned upside down these last two months and that traditions in an uncertain time can be comforting. I am sorry this has been such a difficult time but I wanted to be honest and open with you about these changes.

Please know that I am committed to working with you, our students, to build new traditions — traditions that I look forward very much to sharing with you.

Dean Shepardson