Commencement 2021 Update

A student in a red graduation cap and gown giving a peace sign

Dear 2021 grads,

We appreciate your patience as we’ve worked hard to make plans for our Commencement celebration in June. Thank you to all 2021 grads who responded to our survey about Commencement. From the survey results, it was very clear that an overwhelming majority of grads want three things from the Commencement celebration: 1) the opportunity for loved ones to be involved, 2) walking across a stage, and 3) having your name read.

After significant deliberation, listening to your survey feedback, and considering current pandemic conditions and projections for June, we have decided to have both an in-person celebration and a virtual ceremony. 

The in-person Commencement celebration will have a “drive-through” component that ends with grads (and their loved ones in a car with them) going across a stage. The grad’s name will be read and a professional photographer will take photos. Once the grad and their family are back in their car, the next grad will have their turn on stage.

These celebrations will take place on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, and RSVPs will be required to participate. Once we know how many grads will attend, we will schedule time slots for each grad. We expect to group students in time slots by major so you will be graduating with the students in your program. This will also help faculty to be there to celebrate you.

With most classes being remote, we realize not all grads are near campus. In addition to the in-person celebration, we will have a virtual Commencement ceremony where all grads’ names will be read. The date and time will be announced soon.

We understand you may be disappointed that our 2021 Commencement won’t be the large, in-person event we look forward to each year. We wish we could offer that this year, but social distancing is still important for preventing further COVID-19 spread.

Please watch your inbox for information about how to RSVP for the “drive-through” and the virtual Commencement. You will register separately for each. There will be a firm deadline of May 4 to RSVP.

We expect you have some questions about Commencement. Please visit our FAQ at wou.edu/commencement for additional information and possible answers to your questions. If you have a question not addressed there, please email registrar@wou.edu.

Amy Clark
University Registrar

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