Our plans for Commencement this spring

Faculty, staff and students:

Amid the challenges of the past year, we have maintained hope that conditions will allow us to host in-person Commencement activities this spring.

While there are still many unknowns about how the pandemic will play out in the months ahead, we are tentatively planning to host in-person Commencement events in May, both for this year’s graduates and the Class of 2020.

I want to emphasize that these plans can change at any point based on the latest guidance from health officials. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community and adjust to evolving circumstances however needed.

University-wide celebration

For the Class of 2021, we plan to host Commencement activities in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Sunday, May 16. For the Class of 2020, we plan to host Commencement activities in the stadium on Sunday, May 23.

To comply with health guidelines related to the size of mass gatherings, we will schedule multiple Commencement sessions each Sunday. Students and guests will be assigned to a specific session.

Tickets will be required for graduates and guests, and each graduate will receive a limited number of seats for guests – likely three or four per graduate.

Commencement will include the traditional walk down the Hill into Memorial Stadium, though the walk will look different than in past years to ensure social distancing.

All activities will be streamed live and recorded so those who aren’t on campus are able to watch.

Additional details will be shared later this spring.

School, unit and department events

All Lawrence and Edwards school, unit and department recognition events will be held virtually.

KU Medical Center leaders are still considering graduation weekend options and will communicate with medical center students and staff soon.


As we develop these plans, we will continue to consult with public health officials, as well as city and partners, whose assistance will be crucial as we welcome guests to the region.

Thank you

I want to thank all of you who will help develop these plans in the weeks ahead, especially knowing they may change. This year’s planning will be complicated, but we owe it to our graduates to do everything we can to create the special moment they have worked for and deserve.



Douglas A. Girod