By President Emerita Judie Wexler May 20, 2020

Dear CIIS Community,

I know everyone has been eager to hear about plans for Commencement and for the 2020 Summer semester. Below are the details as we have them. I want to reiterate that all of our decisions reflect the underlying values we’ve espoused since the COVID-19 pandemic struck: protecting the health and safety of the CIIS community and supporting students in achieving their educational goals.


On Saturday, May 30, we will hold Virtual Commencement 2020 that honors our graduates, their academic achievement, and also expresses gratitude to all who supported them on their journey. While it will be different than other years, we’re thrilled about how it has come together.

Shared Studios will be televising the event. Shared Studios is an innovative global company that brings together communities separated by distance and difference. They specialize in recreating the magic of graduation and making it feel as though we are all physically together at the event. There will be opportunities for real-time interaction. Also, graduates have the option of creating a personal page, should they want it.

The program of events is still being finalized, but here are a couple of highlights:

  • The invocation will be delivered by CIIS Professor Emeritus Arisika Razak from the Woman’s Spirituality program.
  • Six performances by professional musicians from the Bay Area and CIIS’ own Jonathan Kay and Richard Wormstall.

We will also have components of our in-person ceremony with messages from myself, faculty members, a student speaker, and other academic traditions.

Information has been sent to graduates and faculty inviting all to participate. We’re also inviting the entire CIIS community to the celebration. See our Commencement page for more information.

May 30 th promises to be a joyous celebration and an innovative and uplifting ceremony. I hope you’ll join the graduates and our CIIS community to celebrate this important milestone.  

Summer Semester

All classes will continue to be offered virtually or online, depending upon the program. Student support services will continue to be offered virtually. The Counseling Psychology Clinics and Wellness Center Counseling Services will continue with telehealth. The ACTCM Clinic will remain closed with students getting their clinical hours via Virtual Grand Rounds. Faculty and staff will continue to work from a distance, so all offices will be available and functioning virtually.

Preparations for Fall semester are currently underway. We anticipate having some combination of virtual, online, and face-to-face operations, but, as you know, the situation is fluid. As always, we will be guided by public health official instructions and governmental regulations. We will also be surveying students to get their perspectives on the choices, needs, and implications. I will let you know when we finalize plans.

While COVID-19 has brought much disruption to our lives, we must remember the importance of ceremonies of celebration. They provide meaning, connection, and joy, which help sustain us as individuals and communities, especially during difficult times.

I am very grateful to be part of this creative and collaborative community. I am inspired by, and thank all of you for, the ways that you are supporting one another, and for your patience and flexibility. One day we will look back at this time and recognize all we have learned about ourselves and each other.

Stay well. And I hope to see you virtually on Saturday, May 30.



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