Celebrating the Classes of 2020 and 2021

On Sunday, May 16, 2021, Maine College of Art will host an in-person Commencement ceremony to honor the academic achievements of the Classes of 2020 and 2021. We are confident we can host this ceremony safely for our deserving and accomplished BFA, MFA, and MAT students due to several intersecting factors: the declining rates of infection in the state of Maine and beyond, the increasing percentage of our population becoming vaccinated, changes to Maine’s COVID-19 protocols per Governor Janet Mills, approval from our consulting infectious disease specialist, and the availability of the 34,000 square foot Cross Insurance Arena for our use.

Change of Date

Commencement will now be held on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 10:00 am instead of Saturday, May 15, 2021 (as originally indicated in the MECA academic calendar).

Location

The ceremony will take place at the Cross Insurance Arena at 1 Civic Center Square in downtown Portland, Maine. The Cross Insurance Arena can hold up to 9,500 people under normal circumstances, which gives us ample space to be properly socially distanced.

Attendance is Limited

At this moment in time, we are limiting attendance to graduating students only, the Commencement platform party, and the select staff and faculty who will run the event.  We are still assessing whether we can allow graduates to invite a guest or guests to attend commencement. We are actively researching safe options and will update graduating students very shortly.

Live Streaming

The ceremony will be live-streamed so that parents, families, friends, faculty, staff, board members, and our entire MECA community can celebrate alongside our graduates.

COVID Protocols

Maine College of Art's COVID-19 protocols will remain in place throughout the ceremony. All attendees will be required to wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing throughout the event. The Cross Arena is large enough so that all participants can remain six feet apart throughout the duration of the ceremony. Seniors will continue to participate in MECA’s COVID-19 testing program through the conclusion of the semester. MECA remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our graduating students and will ensure that this event meets or exceeds all State safety guidelines. 

Letter From President Laura Freid

Dear Members of the MECA Community,

As we look ahead to the conclusion of the academic year, we are working to finalize plans for a Commencement ceremony that will appropriately honor our graduating students’ academic achievements. 

I am pleased to share that on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 10:00 AM, we will hold MECA’s 2021 Commencement at the Cross Insurance Arena on Free Street across from MECA (please note the change of date from Saturday, May 15, 2021). The 34,000 square foot arena can accommodate up to 9,500 people under normal circumstances. Given the size of the arena and following appropriate health protocols, we will be able to safely host an in-person event that will allow our one hundred plus graduating students from the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 to celebrate together.

To prioritize the health and safety of our graduates, at this time we anticipate limiting attendance to graduating students, the Commencement platform party, and select faculty and staff who will be volunteering their time to support the event. Given recent changes to Maine's COVID-19 protocols per Governor Mills, we are assessing the ability of graduates to invite a guest(s) to attend commencement. Future updates regarding guests will be posted on the MECA website and communicated to graduating students. The ceremony will be simultaneously live-streamed so that parents, families, and friends, as well as the rest of the MECA community, can celebrate alongside our graduates. 

MECA’s health and safety protocols will be in place so everyone in attendance will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing throughout the event and will continue to participate in MECA’s COVID-19 testing program through the conclusion of the semester. Our consulting physician, a specialist in infectious disease, has voiced his approval for our plan for an in-person ceremony.

Our MECA community of students, faculty, and staff has set a very high standard of cooperation and teamwork. We have been able to gather together all year safely, and I commend each and every one of you for all your efforts to keep our campus a safe environment. The artwork created during this pandemic is compelling, imaginative, and provocative, reminding us all of the power of creativity, teamwork, and collaboration.

I look forward to sharing our year-end celebrations with our students in person and with our community virtually.

Sincerely,

Laura Freid
President