Commencement Update, Class of 2020 - 03.15.21

March 15, 2021

Dear Class of 2020,

Hello from Claremont CA where, yes, it actually rained recently! I truly hope this message finds you navigating these times well and discovering many silver linings in spite of the challenges we are all facing. In my last letter to you, I indicated that we would make a decision on your Commencement Ceremony by March 15th. So I write to let you know how we plan to proceed.

I am sure most of you have been following how we are doing in Los Angeles County and see that while significant progress has been made with the health metrics here, we are still not yet allowed to host a large public event. In a recent conference call with public health officials, it was also not yet clear when that circumstance would change but we do know it will not be in the immediate future and when it does, there will be limits on how many can attend and out-of-state guests would not be allowed.

As a result, we have decided to not plan for an in-person Commencement Ceremony for you in May. We realize this will again be a disappointment for you, your family and your friends and we are sorry to have to make this decision. It is a great disappointment to us as well and frustrating that the pandemic has again intruded on our lives. We continue to be guided by the feedback you all provided last semester which clearly indicated your preference to wait to have an in-person ceremony rather than a more immediate remote one.

We hold out hope and have confidence that as we get into the new academic year, the public health situation will be much improved and it will become more than feasible to hold your ceremony in the upcoming year. Of course, that cannot be guaranteed but especially as the vaccination rollout continues, we become more hopeful of our ability to see you in-person walk across the graduation stage on our Pitzer campus in the not-too-distant future. Look for an update later this spring or early summer and opportunities to provide us with ideas and feedback for your ceremony. Until then, if you have any questions or thoughts to share, please feel free to send them to commencement@pitzer.edu.

As you know, I am completing my service to Pitzer in May, however, I have promised your class leadership that I will return to campus for your ceremony so this is not yet good-bye but, rather, see you soon!

Take Care,

Mike Segawa
VP for Student Affairs

Commencement Update, Class of 2021 - 03.15.21

March 15, 2021

Dear Class of 2021,

We hope this message finds you well and continuing to find healthy ways to navigate these extraordinary times. The past year has certainly tested us all. This isn’t how any of us imagined your last semester at Pitzer unfolding but we hope that your spring semester has been a positive one.

The scope of the pandemic has changed drastically since we departed campus last March. Since then the Commencement committee has held several meetings and the plans for Commencement have evolved almost weekly. We write now to share our most recent thoughts on celebrating your Commencement. 

While most of the health metrics in Los Angeles County and our country are headed in a healthier direction, they are still above the standards needed to hold a large public gathering. We still remain in a precarious public health environment. We are also very aware that you and your families need as much advance notice as we can responsibly provide.

With all this in mind we have decided, much to our deep disappointment, that holding an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 15th is not in the best interest of the health and safety of our community and the surrounding area. Even the most optimistic health metrics forecasts would severely limit the kind of in-person ceremony we could hold (less than full capacity and no out-of-state guests).

We will now shift our energies to the creation of a thoughtful, touching, and uplifting virtual ceremony to be held on May 15th. There will be pomp and circumstance as well as a good dose of fun! This is the preferred plan for over 67% of the class who participated in our recent poll.

We remain committed to providing an in-person gathering of the Class of 2021 sometime in the not-too-distant future but we want to be sure that we acknowledge your accomplishments at the end of this semester. Your journey to graduation has been incredibly challenging and you have had to forego or delay too many traditions in your senior year. We did not want to delay the most meaningful tradition, your Commencement ceremony.

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, we will be providing you with more details on this virtual event. In the meantime, if you have any specific suggestions, questions or concerns, please email commencement@pitzer.edu. Information for the class of 2021 is also available at www.pitzer.edu/commencement

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we plan to celebrate your achievements. As with all things pandemic, this is an unprecedented challenge we are tackling but we remain excited and hopeful about the possibilities for recognizing our (almost!) Pitzer graduates. 

Best Wishes,
Mike Segawa
Chair, Commencement Planning Committee

Community Update from President Oliver - 03.08.21

March 8, 2021

Dear Pitzer Community,

I hope this message finds everyone well as Spring Break begins. While we take some time to recharge, I’m sure many of us are also taking time to reflect that March marks one year since we moved from an on-campus learning experience to a virtual one, a year since the world seemed to stop in its tracks.

When I wrote to you on March 11, 2020, to explain our plans for closing campus and transitioning to online learning, I said I was confident that, with your support, we would meet the extraordinary challenges of the coming days and months. Today, I write to say thank you—the magnitude of both your support and the challenges surpassed anything I could have imagined that day.

Thank you to the students, from those who have had their college lives upended for more than one academic year to first-year students who have never studied on the Mounds. Thank you to the faculty who had to learn how to teach and reach students through a camera instead of in a classroom. Thank you to the staff who have worked round the clock to protect the health of our community and keep the College running remotely.

Along with my gratitude, I would like to share some updates today regarding Pitzer’s response to the pandemic and plans. As I mentioned in an earlier message, Pitzer will remain remote for the entire spring 2021 semester following Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidance. The College continues to plan for a safe return to on-campus living and in-person learning in the fall.

Student Health Services (SHS) has received approval to dispense COVID-19 vaccines. We do not know yet when SHS will receive a supply of vaccines but will share this information once it is available.

We began on-site testing of employees recently, and more information for faculty and staff who regularly come to campus to work is available here. Higher education employees in California are now eligible to be vaccinated. I encourage everyone in our campus community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and able to schedule an appointment.

I also want to let you know that a committee of students, faculty, and staff has been meeting regularly regarding plans for Commencement. Conversations about graduation ceremonies and celebrations for both the classes of 2020 and 2021 continue. Plans for these will be announced soon.

In closing, let me say thank you again. It will take years to fully understand this past year. We know there has been untold hardship, loss, and pain. We also know we can feel enormous pride about what we have accomplished at Pitzer over these past 12 months. We were mindful of the future and of each other. The College supported students facing housing insecurity, adjusted course-load requirements, provided room-and-board refunds without adjusting financial aid, and avoided pandemic-related layoffs and furloughs. And although we’ve all been tapped out, we didn’t tap out, we kept showing up. This community held more than 35,000 Zoom meetings and hosted more than 75 webinar events. I know that too took a toll.

I appreciate everyone’s patience and persistence as we continue to work toward being together on our beautiful campus. You have helped sustain this very special community in perhaps its most extraordinary time, and I am grateful.

Best wishes for a restorative break and a successful conclusion to the spring semester.

Provida Futuri,
Melvin L. Oliver President

The Claremont Colleges & TimelyMD - 03.23.20

Availability of Campus.Health for The Claremont Colleges Students

The Claremont Colleges have contracted with TimelyMD, a provider of online medical and counseling services, to offer a telehealth option to all TCC students — undergraduate as well as graduate — to expand and supplement services currently available at Student Health Services and Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services. Campus.Health makes it easy for students to get quality medical and mental health care online or from their phone, anytime they need it.

Students now have access to Campus.Health, which provides 24/7 medical and mental telehealth care for all students, at no cost! To get started, visit Campus.Health. Register now and use the service when you need it.

Campus.Health offers the following unlimited free visits with student-focused, licensed physicians and counselors:

  • 24/7 access to on-demand medical care
  • 24/7 access to TalkNow emotional support
  • Accessible from any location within the United States on any smartphone or web-enabled device
  • This is a pilot project that will be available to students until mid-June 2020

To use Campus.Health services, students should:

  • Visit the Campus.Health website or
  • Visit the Apple or Android stores to download the free TimelyMD app
  • Set up profile and at checkout, enter institution’s customized coupon code: PITZER2020

Other notes and features:

  • Students will see the name, picture, location (by state) and credentials of the provider
  • An average medical visit will have a 5 minute wait to speak with a provider; the consultation will average 5-10 minutes
  • An average TalkNow counseling visit may have a 5 minute wait time; 30 minute consultation
  • Students may invite a parent or trusted advisor to participate
  • Follow up notes will be sent by the provider to the student when the visit is complete
  • All federally-protected rights to privacy will be observed. However, in the case of a life-threatening mental health crisis, a student’s dean may be notified.
  • This service is live now, and students may access it at any time.

FAQs

Q. Who can use Campus.Health?
A: Any enrolled, full-time student in The Claremont Colleges.

Q. What services are available?
A. 24/7 medical or immediate therapy (talk to a mental health provider about anything, after-hours or on weekends).

Q. How much does a visit cost?
A. It’s free! There is no cost to full-time students.

Q: Can Campus.Health diagnose COVID-19?
A: Campus.Health will virtually assess symptoms and administer frontline care in a contained environment to limit the spread of illness. They will also give recommendations on need for testing vs. self-quarantine, and where to go if testing or further care is needed.