IU Planning In-Person, Outdoor Spring Commencement Ceremonies for Graduates Only

(BLOOMINGTON) – In accordance with its COVID-19 policies, Indiana University is planning in-person, outdoor May commencement ceremonies at all of its campuses for both 2020 and 2021 undergraduate and graduate students.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie made the announcement Monday in an email to these students.

An IU trident on a graduation cap
In-person attendance to commencement ceremonies will be limited to graduates only, with family and friends invited to join the celebration virtually. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

In-person attendance at the ceremonies will be limited to graduates only, while family and friends are invited to attend commencement virtually.

In addition to spring 2021 graduates, members of the Class of 2020 are also invited to participate in the ceremonies. Graduates who do not attend commencement in person will still be recognized.

IU President Michael McRobbie

“Commencement is one of the most beloved ceremonies at any university across the nation, and it was an agonizing decision for us to have to cancel it last May,” McRobbie said. “We were all bitterly disappointed that this was necessary.

“But given IU’s success in keeping our campuses and communities safe, as well as our nation’s progress in fighting the pandemic, we believe it will be possible this May to hold in-person, outdoor commencement ceremonies for all of our students on all of our campuses, and to do so safely and consistent with our pandemic public health policies.”

Each campus ceremony is being planned in consultation with county health departments and IU’s Medical Response Team, which has led the university’s comprehensive public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic for almost a year.

Graduates who participate will be required to indicate their interest in attending and to undergo specific COVID-19 testing requirements.

“We’re approaching commencement with the same cautious optimism we used to make crucial decisions that allowed IU campuses to remain open throughout the fall,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll, director of mitigation testing, and distinguished professor of pediatrics and health outcomes research leader at the IU School of Medicine. “Limiting ceremonies to graduates only enables us to use the routine testing and public health guidelines in place at all of IU’s campuses to ensure a safe celebration.”

Commencement ceremonies will kick off May 7 at IU Bloomington:

  • IU Bloomington: Graduate ceremony May 7, undergraduate ceremony May 8
  • IU Southeast: May 10
  • IU Kokomo: May 11
  • IU South Bend: May 12
  • IU Northwest: May 13
  • IU East: May 14
  • IUPUI: May 15

More information is available on the commencement website. Each campus will release additional details, including the time and location of ceremonies, as May approaches. All plans are subject to change based on the public health outlook in each community.

Information Chuck Carney, News at IU