Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the University’s plans for Commencement 2021?
  2. Will family members and guests be able to attend the events of Commencement 2021?
  3. How many is a “limited number” of guests?
  4. Will guests need to be vaccinated or tested before coming to South Bend?
  5. Will students who are taking classes online at home, those who are participating in programs in other parts of the country (e.g. Silicon Valley program), or those who graduated in January 2021 or August 2020, be able to attend Commencement in person?
  6. Why is the University proceeding with plans for an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2021 in May, but not for the Class of 2020 a week later?
  7. Will family members be able to stay in campus residence halls throughout the Commencement weekend?
  8. Will August 2020 and January 2021 graduates be allowed to participate in the May 2021 ceremony?
What are the University’s plans for Commencement 2021?

As was announced in Father Jenkins’ letter of Feb. 3, the current plan is for the Commencement events for the Class of 2021 to take place in-person on the dates scheduled, May 21-23, in accordance with appropriate health and safety protocols. We hope to be able to safely host these events — with significant modifications, of course — with and for our graduates who will have been on campus all semester, and therefore subject to regular surveillance testing and the many other public health protocols that are in place. We will assess the situation as the date draws closer and keep our graduates, their families and the campus community informed.

Will family members and guests be able to attend the events of Commencement 2021?

At this time, we hope to be able to welcome to campus a limited number of family and guests for these celebrations. We will, of course, work closely with public health officials to determine whether and how we might do so. More information will be provided in the coming weeks. In any case, we will offer options for virtual participation for family members and loved ones unable to attend Commencement in person.  

How many is a “limited number” of guests?

We have not yet determined a number, and all aspects of potentially hosting guests at Commencement will be determined based on conditions closer to the date of Commencement and in consultation with public health officials.

Will guests need to be vaccinated or tested before coming to South Bend?

The University will make determinations about any health and safety protocols for guests —assuming, of course, that we are able to welcome guests — in the coming weeks in consultation with public health officials, and we will communicate this information as soon as possible.

Will students who are taking classes online at home, those who are participating in programs in other parts of the country (e.g. Silicon Valley program), or those who graduated in January 2021 or August 2020, be able to attend Commencement in person?

In consultation with public health officials, we will work with each of these cohorts to determine the appropriate approach in each instance.

Why is the University proceeding with plans for an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2021 in May, but not for the Class of 2020 a week later?

This year’s graduates will spend the entire semester on campus, and thus will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing as well as many other University health and safety protocols. The Class of 2020, on the other hand, would need to travel to South Bend from locations across the nation and around the world. Based on guidance from public health officials and current projections, it will unfortunately not be possible by the end of May to safely gather thousands of people from many parts of the world for a weekend of celebratory events.

Will family members be able to stay in campus residence halls throughout the Commencement weekend?

We regret that parents and guardians will not be permitted to stay in dorms over the Commencement weekend.

Will August 2020 and January 2021 graduates be allowed to participate in the May 2021 ceremony?

Yes, we will permit August 2020 and January 2021 graduates to participate, subject to whatever public health protocols the University and the county may put in place for those coming to campus from outside of our area.