Exclamation mark

SVA Responds to COVID-19

Read the latest on SVA’s response to the coronavirus and find the resources you need.

Together We Graduate
Virtual Commencement Ceremony Will Be Held On 5/27 at 1pm
John Waters, SVA Commencement Speech 2020
Writer, director, artist and cult icon John Waters encourages the class of 2020 to inspire others and spark change during these uncertain and absurd times: “Artists are magicians: you can see what others can not, have a secret language, the power to make others follow … and you can change history with one ludicrous idea.” Cover image credit: Richard Chisolm

This year’s ceremony, like all previous years, consists of the following parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Opening Ceremonies by Provost Christopher J. Cyphers, Ph.D.
  3. Bachelor’s Degree Candidate Address by Daniela Dwek, BFA Computer Art 
  4. Master’s Degree Candidate Address by Ishita Jain, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay
  5. President’s Address by David Rhodes
  6. Introduction of Commencement Speaker by David A. Ross, chair, MFA Art Practice
  7. Commencement Speaker Address by John Waters, filmmaker, actor, writer and artist
  8. Honorary Degree Presentation 
  9. Awarding and Conferral of Master’s Degrees
  10. Awarding and Conferral of Bachelor’s Degrees
  11. Closing Remarks by Provost Christopher J. Cyphers, Ph.D.

The ceremony is expected to run from 1pm - 3:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time. Shortly after its conclusion, a replay of the event will be available on this page (sva.edu/commencement).


1) Who is the Commencement speaker?

The 2020 Commencement Speaker is John Waters, Writer/Director.

2) What is the correct academic attire?

Commencement attire is provided by SVA when candidates complete all graduation requirements. 

3) Do I go up on stage during the ceremony?

No. The ceremony will be virtual.