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Penn State To Host In-Person Graduation Ceremonies At Beaver Stadium

Penn State will officially host in-person commencement ceremonies for seniors this spring, according to an email from President Eric Barron.

Planned events will take place at Beaver Stadium from May 7 to 9. Virtual livestream options will also be available for those who are unable to attend or prefer to participate online.

Ceremonies will adhere to the following schedule:

Friday, May 7, 2021

  • Noon — The Graduate School — Beaver Stadium
  • 6 p.m. — College of Engineering — Beaver Stadium

Saturday, May 8, 2021

  • 9 a.m. — Smeal College of Business — Beaver Stadium
  • 1:30 p.m. — Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, College of Education, & College of Information Sciences and Technology — Beaver Stadium
  • 6 p.m. — College of Arts and Architecture, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Nursing, & Eberly College of Science — Beaver Stadium

Sunday, May 9, 2021

  • 9 a.m. — College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Health and Human Development — Beaver Stadium
  • 1:30 p.m. — College of the Liberal Arts — Beaver Stadium
  • 6 p.m. — University-wide virtual ceremony

Additionally, Commonwealth Campuses will each host their own respective ceremonies. Graduates at those campuses are invited to a university-wide virtual ceremony at 6 p.m. on May 9.

Graduates will be permitted to each bring along two guests, who will be seated in pods of up to three people (a graduate plus two guests, etc.). This will be done to maintain proper distancing between parties.

“Our commencement ceremonies will look different from what they have in the past, but with health and safety as our top priority we are pleased to be able to offer an opportunity to gather in person,” Barron said in an email.

To keep health and safety as priorities, graduates won’t be permitted to walk the stage to pick up their diplomas. Instead, each graduate’s name, degree, and major will be featured on a video board throughout each ceremony.

Tickets will be required for all graduates and guests attending in-person ceremonies at Beaver Stadium. According to Penn State, ticket registration will occur through a two-step process via emails sent to graduates “later this month.” In April, graduates who RVSP will receive another email to secure their tickets.

According to Barron, in the event of severe weather, in-person commencement ceremonies won’t be rescheduled.

Penn State will not strictly require graduates and guests to be tested for COVID-19 before the in-person events roll around. However, Barron implored the Penn State community to stay vigilant to ensure these opportunities can safely occur.

“While we look forward to celebrating in person, we must all continue to be vigilant and to follow health and safety guidance regarding COVID-19,” Barron said. “The University is prepared to adjust our plans if needed based on changing virus conditions or public health guidelines.”

Barron said Penn State’s plans could change if Governor Tom Wolf continues easing statewide regulations on in-person gatherings. Beginning April 4, outdoor events can be held at up to 50% capacity.

Regardless, Penn State does not plan on permitting any more guests than originally planned.

Additionally, Penn State and its Alumni Association are working on planning a “special weekend” in spring 2022 to celebrate the Class of 2020. More information and a specific date regarding that will be “forthcoming” as Penn State continues its planning and research.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

By day, Matt is a senior majoring in journalism. By night, he's Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football lover, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.


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