Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
USNA News Center
USNA News Center
Picture Name


  POSTED ON: Friday, April 10, 2020 12:55 PM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The U.S. Naval Academy formally announced April 10th the cancellation of all Commissioning Week 2020 public events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was a very difficult decision to come to,” said 63rd Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck, “but due to the national impact of the coronavirus, I have canceled our traditional Commissioning Week public events in order to safeguard the health and welfare of the entire Naval Academy family and local community, which has been my number one strategic priority since the onset of this pandemic.”

“I still intend to accomplish my second strategic priority, which is to graduate and commission each member of the Class of 2020,” Buck said. “My team is diligently planning on how, when, and where this special event will virtually occur. It won’t, unfortunately, be the traditional event we’ve all grown accustomed to witness. The Class of 2020 has worked tirelessly for nearly four years for this milestone — I believe we owe it to them to exhaust all efforts in our decision-making and planning process to make this special for them, within the guidelines we’re operating under.”

Other traditional class milestone events, such as the Herndon Climb and Ring Dance, are postponed until social distancing protocols will permit large-scale events.

“There are certain rites of passage unique to the Naval Academy that every graduate reflects positively upon and thus helps to define and strengthen the Naval Academy experience,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. T.R. Buchanan. “Even if not held this May, our midshipmen still deserve the opportunity to enjoy those milestone events.”

In the Naval Academy’s storied 175 year history, there have been 26 early graduation and commissioning ceremonies in order to support several war efforts (Civil, Spanish-American, and World Wars I and II). At the end of the Civil War, half the class of 1865 graduated early, in November 1864 in Newport, Rhode Island, and the other half graduated late, in September 1865, when the school was moved back to Annapolis. In 1907, three separate ceremonies were held - two early, one on time. In 1917, Congress authorized the Naval Academy to reduce its four-year program to three; the Class of 1917 was graduated early on March 29, and three months later, the Class of 1918 was graduated on June 28, 1917.

We will continue to keep the Class of 2020 and families informed of plans for graduation and commissioning as more information becomes available.

For more information on coronavirus impacts to the Naval Academy, visit