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The Commencement Experience

May 8 & 15, 2021


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 4 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.

Commencement registration will open on April 6. Graduates will be required to register to attend and then toward the end of April, those that indicate attendance will be required to RSVP for themselves, all of the guests in their party and schedule their Stage Grad Walk timeslot.

Public Schedule

May 8, 2021

  • Class of 2020
  • Aug/Dec Grads from 2020*
  • Also open to 2021 Grad students who were CNU undergrad 2020**
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.***

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
  • 8 - Noon: Silver Block - College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Graduate Studies Programs***
  • 1 - 6 p.m.: Blue Block - College of Arts & Humanities, College of Social Sciences and Luter School of Business***

*Aug/Dec Grads from 2020 will be given the option to participate in either of the dates.

**Grad students who were CNU undergrad 2020 will have the option of choosing to participate on May 8, May 15 or both dates. If they choose to participate on May 8, for their Masters they will be a 'candidate for 2021 graduation' and their diploma will be mailed to them (it won't be ready by May 8 since grades aren't cleared until May 11).

***Time block is subject to change based on the number of participants. Once we receive the initial registration info from all groups the specific schedule of the colleges on stage will be determined.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact University Events at