After a COVID-19-induced hiatus, Stanford University will hold in-person commencement ceremonies in June, university President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said this week.
The in-person celebration at Stanford Stadium will look somewhat differently from in the past due to ongoing coronavirus concerns, however. The university will hold two ceremonies: one for advanced-degree recipients on Saturday, June 12, and one for graduating seniors on Sunday, June 13, according to an April 20 statement.
Two guest tickets will be allowed for in-person graduates, and any guests and students coming from outside California must be fully vaccinated. Those who are already on campus or who travel from within the state must be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. During the ceremony, seating will be socially distanced and pre-assigned, and face coverings are required, he said.
"We are committed to a Commencement experience that, while imperfect in some respects, is fun, meaningful and safe, contingent on the public health orders in place at the time. We have consulted with student leaders, who have expressed their enthusiasm to proceed despite the constraints," he wrote in the statement.
Students and their families will have the opportunity to photograph their graduation moment. The commencement events will also be livestreamed; a recording will be available for anyone who can't attend in person. Other events, including school and departmental gatherings, will be virtual, Tessier-Lavigne said.
The university is exploring ways to adjust other traditions, such as having COVID-19-appropriate alternatives to the Wacky Walk, where graduates parade through the stadium in costumes, and other activities, he said.
"We are well aware that this plan is not the full Commencement experience that we all would like to have. We deeply regret that some members of our community may not be able to join in person. However, after careful consideration of the situation and with health precautions and state regulations firmly in mind, we believe this is the best path forward and we are excited to celebrate with our graduates," he said.
More details would be forthcoming in the next few weeks regarding the Class of 2021 commencement ceremonies in June, he said. Additional information about the commencement will be available at commencement.stanford.edu.
Stanford canceled its 2020 in-person graduation last year due to the pandemic. The university plans to hold a promised in-person celebration for last year's graduates at a later date.