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The Commencement Experience

May 15, 2021

Overview

Due to commonwealth restrictions, university guidelines and spread prevention needs, commencement will look different than previous years' formal ceremonies. Instead, we are offering an in-person event that will feature the defining traditions that are associated with being a Captain called The Commencement Experience.

Each graduate will be able to invite 6 guests to join them. Each graduate group will be considered a "party" and will be able to participate in all of the experiences together with no distancing requirements for their individual party. Otherwise, all parties are expected to stay at least 6 feet apart at all times and at least 10 feet in designated areas.

To make this festive day happen, one that will be filled with celebration, music, multiple family photo ops, and plenty of poignant and unforgettable moments, we are creating event zones throughout campus that feature these special experiences. While there is no seating, each event zone allows us to accommodate small numbers of you at any one time so that you can have a cherished experience while limiting exposure. There will be different experiences and traditions that you can participate in at your leisure and in whichever order you choose, but each graduate will be scheduled for a specific appointment within their overall timeblock to walk across the stage and receive their diploma cover. Parties participate in all experiences with their graduate. More information will be released toward the end of April which will detail all of the experiences available.

Please note that this is a walking event designed to keep parties moving, strictly limiting exposure, and contact with equipment, as such there is limited to no seating. The lawn and areas surrounding the lawn are handicap accessible and there is handicap parking available, but the amount of walking may be challenging for those with mobility restrictions. Persons with mobility limitations may require additional assistance and should make their own arrangements for assistance throughout the Commencement Experience.

Map Link
2021 Graduates Parking for 2021 graduates
Handicap Parking Handicap Parking

Important Information

Click here to watch the recording of rehearsal:

Watch Now

From Chief of Staff Adelia Thompson emailed to students, faculty and staff.

Christopher Newport University is aware of the revisions in COVID-19 protocol policy just announced by Governor Northam for the Commonwealth of Virginia, following yesterday's changes in guidance from CDC. The Governor also said that businesses and state agencies may develop and maintain their own policies for face coverings and distancing.

So, for our class of 2021 Commencement Experience celebration, we will continue to require face coverings and physical distancing. We will have guests here tomorrow from across the Commonwealth, the country and around the world. While many members of the Christopher Newport family have been vaccinated, we know there are those among our students, faculty, staff and visitors who may not yet have had the opportunity to receive the vaccine or are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. We thank you for helping us protect our campus community.

  • If anyone in your party are in isolation or quarantine, they will not be able to attend.
  • Download the CampusClear App so you can skip the on-site COVID-19 screening.
    • Detailed instructions can be found by clicking this link: CampusClear Instructions
    • You can download CampusClear ahead of time, but you must complete the screening process Saturday before you come to campus
    • For those without smartphones or if you choose not to use the CampusClear app to bypass COVID-19 screening, you will be required to pass through the health screening on campus during the check-in process in Lot B.
      • Guests screened on campus will receive a green wristband to indicate they are clear to participate.
  • Communicate with your everyone in your party so they know what to expect, where to park and where to meet up.
    • Arrange for your entire party to arrive together--you are required to check-in as a group.
  • If you have guests with limited mobility, please ensure that your party has made arrangements to provide assistance and bring any necessary equipment. The entire experience is handicap accessible, but there will be no golf cart shuttles or wheel chairs available and seating across campus is limited to existing tables and chairs.
    • A sign language interpreter will be available all day long in front of the Commencement stage.
  • Wear comfortable shoes-there will be a LOT of walking and we suggest wearing lightweight business or business casual attire for graduates under their robe.
    • There is not a specific dress code guests.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required inside and outside, except while stopped at a Photo Op and while crossing the stage.
  • Sunscreen!

Graduates

  • Bring your regalia to include your robe, hood and, if you have them already, any stoles or cords you earned.
    • Latin Honors and Honors Programs medallions will be available for pick up on York River Lawn.
    • PLP cords will be available at the PLP tent on the Great Lawn.
    • If something didn't arrive on your regalia, you don't have it, lost something, etc, the Captains Locker is open Friday, 9-4. Please call them at (757) 599-5170.
  • Bring your penny, but don't worry, if you can't find it, we'll have more at the Fountain.
  • A photo ID for check-in (a CNU ID, license, passport, employer/school ID)*

*Guests do not need to have their IDs for check-in.

Please Do Not Bring

  • More than 6 guests in your party
    • If your guests change or the number of guests shifts, that is okay as long at it is 6 or below. You do not need to notify us.
    • Parties will be counted as they enter each experience and must not exceed 7 total including the graduate.
  • Pets - no matter what size, unless they are a service animal.
  • Things that are heavy/bulky, there's a lot of walking and that would make for a lot of carrying.
  • The coronavirus
  • Drones
  • Outside food, alcohol, firearms or weapons
  • If you are in the Silver Block in the morning, you may be on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • If you are in the Blue Block in the afternoon, you may be on campus from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
    • If you don't know what block you are in, check for your college on the schedule below
  • You can be on campus at any time during your time block, but you must exit campus when that time block is over. We have very strict regulations given to us by the Commonwealth for capacity on campus.

Graduates

  • You will need to arrive to campus at least 15-30 mins prior to your Grad Walk appointment time (the time you signed up for) in order to give you ample time to check-in and get to the Grad Walk check-in.
    • If you have to pick up any honor cords, stoles or medallions, we suggest you arrive closer to 30 minutes earlier.
    • If you want to walk the entire processional first and do your penny, you need to allocate 30-45 minutes before you arrive to your Grad Walk appointment.
  • The time you registered for is your Grad Walk Appointment time.
    • This is what time you arrive to the Grad Walk Check-In between Luter and Freeman.
    • You will cross the stage approximately 8-10 minutes after you check-in at the Grad Walk depending on how quickly the people in front of you move along.
  • You can complete any of the experiences on the lawn in whichever order you choose, but you must arrive to check-in to the Grad Walk at your scheduled appointment.
    • You do not have to complete all of the experiences or stay on campus the entire block. Choose your own adventure.

All parking lots and garages will be open parking during the Commencement Experience with only two exceptions:

  • Lot M is reserved parking
  • Lot B/C1 is Handicap Permit Parking

If you are arriving prior to 8:30 a.m., we encourage you to park in C2 or the loop, both in front of the Ferguson Center. At 8:30 a.m. the main entrance to campus after the circle leading to the Trible Library will be closed off so graduates can walk the processional route during the day.

If you arrive after 8:30 a.m. please either park in the Ferguson Center Parking Garage and Lot A or enter campus on University Place by Panera and Starbucks. There is plenty of parking on that side of campus.

To access handicap parking, follow the access road between Freeman and Warwick blvd to Lot C.

Please visit cnu.edu/parking for a map of all the parking lots on campus.

  • Arrive to the check-in tent at Lot B during your time block and before your Grad Walk time.
  • Give yourself 10-15 minutes to get through the check-in process.
  • Make sure your entire group is together and ready to check in.
  • There are no tickets, we will check in each party by the graduate's name and the graduate will need to show an I.D.
  • Each member of the party will receive a wristband that corresponds with the color time block. Silver for the morning, Blue for the afternoon.
  • Each party will be given a bag that has some goodies and the Commencement bulletin which includes a campus map.
  • If you have pre-screened via CampusClear, each individual will show the 'good to go' screen to the staff member and can proceed into campus.
  • If you need to be screened, several health screening questions will be asked and your temperature will be taken.
    • Guests screened on campus will receive a green wrist band
    • Each guest, regardless of age, must be screened. Parents can answer questions for minor children.

Please give your guests who are joining via the livestream the link below and advise them of the timing on stage of your College. From the time of your scheduled Grad Walk appointment, it should take you approximately 8-10 minutes to get to the stage, depending on how quickly the parties in front of you move through. You may want to have someone in your on-campus party text your guests watching from afar right after hooding so they know to watch for you. This link will be active on Saturday.

Watch Now

For a detailed view into the Commencement Experience, please click the following button to see the map that lists all of the activities, parking areas, restrooms, water stations, Captains Locker, etc.

Commencement Experience Map

To see the steps for the Grad Walk Experience where Graduates will get hooded and cross the stage, please click this button:

Grad Walk Experience Map

To watch a video on the hooding process, please click this button and feel free to share with your guests:

How To: Hooding

We have many photo ops throughout the day where you can pause and snap your own pictures, but during the Grad Walk there will be professional photographers from Candid Color to take your official Commencement pictures.

Graduates

  • If you are from a legacy family, i.e. you have a family member that attended Christopher Newport, please notify the staff at the photo op after you cross the stage. We capture a special photo of legacy families.

About a week after Commencement, you will be able to view and order your pictures by visiting candidcolor.net. Select “Graduation Day," enter your CNU access code: CNUG21 and a pre-registration window will appear. Please enter your valid e-mail address and your name.

You will receive an e-mail when pictures are available, approximately five to seven days following your graduation ceremony. (Please make sure our e-mail address is marked as a safe sender and not junk mail).

The Commonwealth of Virginia has laid out very specific regulations for us to follow in relation to Commencement, here are the highlights, regardless of your vaccination status:

  • We are restricted on capacity based on the size of our venue and that is how the campus capacity was determined for the day, the time blocks were scheduled and the number of guests per graduate allocated.
  • Parties are not allowed to mix and should stay 6' apart
    • Avoid handshakes, hugs and contact with persons outside your party
  • Masks are required indoors and outdoors
  • Food and beverage sales are prohibited
    • We will have water to distribute at three water stations
    • You must stop and distance to remove your mask to drink

Persons not complying with our protocols will be asked to leave campus.

Public Schedule

May 15, 2021

  • May 2021 Grads (registration for this group begins on April 6)
  • Also open to Aug/Dec & Grad students who didn't want to go with 2020
Graduate Schedule
Date/Time Event Location
Saturday
May 15
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Commencement Experience - Silver Block

Natural & Behavioral Sciences and Graduate Studies

Stage Schedule
  • Natural & Behavioral Sciences: 9-11 a.m.
  • Graduate Studies: 11:30 a.m.-noon

Graduates will sign up on the graduate RSVP form for a specific time to cross the stage during their college's stage schedule.

The Great Lawn
Saturday
May 15
1:30-6 p.m.
Commencement Experience - Blue Block

College of Arts & Humanities, College of Social Sciences, and Luter School of Business

Stage Schedule
  • College of Arts & Humanities: 1:45-2:45 p.m.
  • College of Social Sciences: 3:15-4:15 p.m.
  • Luter School of Business: 4:45-5:30 p.m.

Graduates will sign up on the graduate RSVP form for a specific time to cross the stage during their college's stage schedule.

The Great Lawn

Parking

The parking lots and garages will be open parking during the Commencement Experience with only two exceptions: Lot M is reserved parking and Lot B is Handicap Permit Parking. If you are arriving prior to 8:30 a.m., we encourage you to park in C2 or the loop, both in front of the Ferguson Center. At 8:30 a.m. the main entrance to campus by the Trible Library will be closed off so graduates can walk the processional route during the day. If you arrive after 8:30 a.m. please either park in the Ferguson Center Parking Garage (Lot A) or enter campus on University Place by Panera and Starbucks. Please visit cnu.edu/parking for a map of all the parking lots on campus.

Ordering Photos

Visit www.candidcolor.net and select “Graduation Day." Enter your CNU access code:

  • CNUG20: May 8 Commencement Experience
  • CNUG21: May 15 Commencement Experience

A pre-registration window will appear. Please enter your valid e-mail address and your name. You will receive an e-mail when pictures are available, approximately five to seven days following your graduation ceremony. (Please make sure our e-mail address is marked as a safe sender and not junk mail).

Social

Contact

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact University Events at cnuevents@cnu.edu