KU planning to host limited, in-person commencement celebrations for class of 2021, 2020

Big Jay looked the part during graduation on Sunday, May 15, 2016 in Memorial Stadium.

University of Kansas graduates from last year and this year could get an in-person commencement celebration in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, according to a message from the chancellor.

While Chancellor Douglas Girod wrote Tuesday that the plans were tentative and subject to change based on health guidelines, KU is planning to host in-person commencement events in May. Commencement activities for the class of 2021 are planned for Sunday, May 16. Then, one week later, KU plans to host commencement activities for the class of 2020.

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

Attendees would be required to have tickets, and Girod said each graduate would likely receive three or four tickets for guests. The plans for the ceremony include the traditional walk down the hill into the stadium, but Girod said the walk would look different than in past years in order to ensure social distancing. All unit and department recognition events would be held virtually. Additionally, all commencement activities would be streamed live and recorded so people not on campus could still watch.

Girod wrote that KU Medical Center leaders were still considering graduation weekend options and would be in communication with their staff and students. Additional details for the celebration on the Lawrence campus will be shared this spring.

“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,” Girod wrote. “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.”


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