Has a formal decision been made regarding the upcoming May 2021 Commencement ceremonies?

As was mentioned in the February 26 communication to graduates and families, as long as it remains safe to do so, we will host in-person ceremonies for the Classes of 2021 and 2020. The University will be letting everyone know the ceremony schedule as soon as possible. Updates will also be posted on the here as they become available.

Is there a chance the ceremonies could be cancelled or changed?

We hope that won’t happen! But yes, if conditions worsen in the St. Louis region, there is a chance that local authorities could require us to pivot to virtual ceremonies or modify the schedule to include an additional day.

When is the Class of 2021 ceremony, and where will it occur?

Ceremonies for the Class of 2021 will be held Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21, 2021. As long as conditions in the region remain favorable, we will celebrate in person on Francis Olympic Field on the Danforth Campus.  

When is the rescheduled Class of 2020 ceremony, and where will it occur?

Ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will be held Sunday, May 30. As long as conditions in the region remain favorable, we will celebrate in person on Francis Olympic Field on the Danforth Campus. 

What will the in-person ceremonies look like?

Commencement will look and feel very different this year. In order to celebrate our graduates safely, we will host multiple, smaller ceremonies for each class. There will be a maximum of 500 graduates at each ceremony. All seating will be arranged to accommodate physical distancing. Graduates will not cross the stage, shake hands, or receive diplomas during the ceremonies, and graduate students will not be hooded. With the exception of the faculty marshals, faculty will only be invited to attend virtually. All graduates, guests, and staff will to wear face masks at all times. Everyone in attendance will be required to register in advance.

Will guests be permitted at the ceremonies?

Yes, graduates will be permitted to invite up to two guests each. All guests will need to be registered, and physical distancing will be observed in the viewing area. Guest tickets are non-transferrable.

Can I attend the ceremony in person if I have not received the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. However, all students and guests are asked to significantly limit their interactions with others 14 days prior to the Commencement ceremonies.  This includes staying at home as much as possible, wearing a mask if you must be in contact with anyone outside your home, and keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others outside of your family.

Please don’t travel if you’re sick. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or loss of taste or smell), stay home. Bring masks and hand sanitizer with you and use both while traveling.

Wear a mask at all times in airports, on planes, or in any closed space with other people. If you have access to a disposable surgical mask (also known as an isolation mask), consider wearing one during flights, or while riding trains or buses. If you are flying, double check to make sure you choose an airline that requires and enforces masking for everyone on board. Same with train or bus travel – be sure to check the policies of the transportation companies you choose and only travel with one that requires masks. If you are seated near a passenger who is not wearing a mask, ask to be moved to another seat. 

Use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces in airports or other transportation hubs. Please do your best to avoid gathering with groups of people, paying particular attention to boarding areas, information desks, and other places where a crowd may form.

CDC travel guidance

CDC mask guidance

If I can’t return to celebrate in person this year, can I participate at a future ceremony?

Yes, there will be an opportunity for you to participate in a future ceremony if you wish to do so.

Will I be required to do a self-screening before visiting campus?

Yes, all graduates, guests, staff, and vendors will be required to complete the Washington University in St. Louis self-screening process before visiting campus. Visitors – https://visitorscreening.wustl.edu/ students, faculty, staff – http://screening.wustl.edu/

Will regalia be available for students who are unable to participate in person?

Yes, updates will be posted on the Commencement website as they become available.

Will graduates be required to register to attend the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 ceremonies?

Yes. Registration will be required for all graduates. For safety reasons, if you have not registered, you will not be allowed to participate. Once details are available, we will contact degree candidates with information about ceremony details, regalia, and registration.

Is it too late to file my intent to Graduate in order to participate in these ceremonies?

Although the Intent to Graduate deadline has passed, please contact your school registrar’s office immediately for assistance with filing. Graduates will not be able to register for Commencement ceremonies if they have not filed.

How will the Class of 2021 receive diplomas this academic year?

Spring 2021 diploma distribution is still under consideration due to changes with the COVID-19 recommendations. Students will need to make sure there is an updated Diploma Mailing Address within their WebSTAC account. Students who have filed their Intent to Graduate will be notified of plans for diploma distribution once they are determined.

Will Reunion celebrations take place on the Danforth Campus this year?

All in-person Reunion celebrations have transitioned to virtual. For more information please visit here.

Will there be in-person class parties or school post-ceremony receptions?

We are unable to host in-person class parties and school-based post-ceremony receptions. Due to St. Louis County health precautions, we cannot provide food and beverage associated with these ceremonies. The safety and well being of our WashU community remains our highest priority.

Will faculty and staff be invited to attend in person?

Faculty and staff will be invited to attend virtually. Staff are encouraged to participate in volunteer roles. Please watch for a communication from the Commencement Office for more information.

Is there a way for Trustees, faculty, family members, and students unable to attend in person to engage with the in-person ceremonies?

Yes, there will be an opportunity to share well wishes and advice to our graduates through a virtual opportunity to be featured on the screens.

If I do not need one or more of my Commencement tickets, can I sell or give them to someone else?

No. Tickets are non-transferable. All guests must be registered for contact tracing purposes, and guest IDs will be checked. St. Louis County has approved a maximum of two guests be permitted per graduate. Graduates must be in attendance for their guests to be admitted.