Graduates Look Forward To Commencement Ceremonies For Individual Departments

Seniors and last year’s 2020 graduates will walk the stage to receive their diploma at the close of the semester. 

Commencement Degree Presentation ceremonies will begin Tuesday, May 11 and run through Saturday, May 15, and each school will host its own event.  The Main Commencement ceremony celebrating the graduates will be streamed virtually Saturday at 7 p.m. 

This year will look different for graduating students due to COVID-19, but Liberty faculty and staff plan to provide as normal of a graduation experience as possible for students and guests. 

Students from 2019-2021 are able to participate in the virtual graduation ceremonies after they register prior to the event. At this point 4,700 RSVP’s have already been made, and more are expected to come. 

Students can go to the Liberty University Commencement website to find the time and location of the ceremony for their school. 

Three degree ceremonies will be held each day, beginning at 10 a.m., on Tuesday through Saturday and leading into the main commencement ceremony on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.  Gates at Williams Stadium and on the Academic Lawn will open one hour prior to the start of each ceremony. 

Due to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 executive orders issued in March, Degree Presentation ceremonies in Williams Stadium will hold at max capacity 5,000 people and the Academic Lawn will hold 1,852 people. Degree ceremonies and the main ceremony will be streamed live on Liberty University’s Commencement website for anyone who cannot make it in-person.

Graduates will be seated within 10 feet of one another to accommodate social distancing requirements, while guests will be seated in pods of six, 10 feet away from other pods. Each graduate student will receive seven tickets total, one for themselves, and six for guests. 

Graduates will be seated based on sections for their school while guests will have assigned seating based on their ticket. Liberty staff and school departments will help with seating on the field and lawn.

Senior Associate Registrar of Student Services and Records Lori Baker has been involved with planning for graduation all year long.

“Our ceremonies will look much like they have in the past.  Each ceremony will be run by the Deans and Chairs from the schools and departments that the graduate is graduating from,” Baker said. “There will be a charge to the graduates, awards and recognition (where appropriate), and then each graduate will have the opportunity to walk across the stage and be recognized for the completion of their degree.” 

Masks will be required for everyone attending commencement and the ceremonies. Students will not be allowed to shake hands while receiving their diploma due to the governor’s restrictions. 

The Commencement team is working on ways to recognize each individual graduate on stage and capture a photo with academic leadership. Food and beverages will not be sold in the facility, but guests will receive bags with a program and a water bottle inside. More updates will soon be added to the commencement website such as a “What to expect” page for guests arriving for commencement.

Baker and her team encourage students to stay tuned to get the latest info on the rapidly developing plans. 

“A week prior to graduation, students should receive an envelope from Liberty University through the mail, with their reader card inside,” Baker said. “Students must bring their reader card with their name, their degree, and any honors they received to be announced.”

“If the reader card is missing or the student forgets to bring it, commencement information tables will be placed inside and outside of the facilities to help students gather necessary information,” Baker said. “Students must also bring their ticket and wear their regalia on their day of graduation.” 

Emily Robertson is a News Reporter.

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