2021 Commencement Announcement

The following email was sent to qualifying graduating students on April 20, 2021.

Dear students,

I hope this email finds you healthy and doing well. Graduation is such an exciting and important milestone for each of you and I am writing with an update to our spring commencement plans. 

This year’s pandemic has again required us to make changes to how we have traditionally celebrated our graduating class. While we will not be able to safely host a large in-person event, I am pleased to announce that we have been given approval to add two in-person activities for the class of 2021: the Grad Parade and a Stage Procession. Both of these activities are for 2021 graduates only and will require you to opt in and follow all COVID-19 safety protocols in order to participate. As I mentioned in February, this year’s main commencement celebration and school and college ceremonies will continue to be virtual. This has not changed. 

Our in-person activities will take place at the Eugene campus on the afternoon of June 12. Graduates who opt in to the in-person activities can participate in the Grad Parade followed by a Stage Procession. The Grad Parade is an iconic part of each year’s commencement day. Students will parade down 13th Avenue from Matthew Knight Arena toward the Memorial Quad. Immediately following the Grad Parade, graduates will then proceed to a designated area on the Memorial Quad where they will cross a stage as their name is read aloud and then have their photograph taken. The Stage Procession will be livestreamed so families and friends can watch online. More information on all of this year’s in-person and virtual commencement activities is available on the commencement website.

Our ability to offer these in-person activities is contingent on favorable county health conditions related to COVID-19, and required approval by the Oregon Health Authority. While we are extremely excited to offer these opportunities, we are responsible for the health and safety of the campus community and all involved. Should conditions take a turn for the worse between now and Commencement Day (June 12), the university reserves the right to cancel these events with little or no notice. We are doing our very best to offer options to celebrate our 2021 graduates while also following guidance from health officials in Oregon. Family and friends are not invited to the Grad Parade and will not be permitted in the Memorial Quad for the Stage Procession and photo opportunity, and we recommend people do not travel to Eugene for these events due to the continued spread of COVID-19. 

We know a virtual commencement, even with the addition of in-person activities, is not the same as our traditional Commencement Day. We sincerely hope the Class of 2021, as well as the Class of 2020, will join us in person next year. Sometime this fall we will send both groups of graduates information about our commitment to celebrate both classes at Commencement 2022. 

Lastly, I want to say I continue to be impressed by your resilience, positive attitudes, and perseverance through this pandemic. While I know this is certainly difficult for so many reasons, I am inspired by your ability to push through and work toward this tremendous achievement. Congratulations again!

Sincerely,

R Kevin Marbury, PhD
Vice President for Student Life


The following email was sent to qualifying graduating students on February 9, 2021.

Dear students,

I hope this email finds you all healthy and doing well.

I’m writing to give you an update on our spring commencement plans.

As a community, the University of Oregon has worked collectively to support the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and to continue to act responsibly in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our priority remains the health and safety of the university and surrounding communities.

We continue to follow guidance from the CDC, other public health officials, and our own faculty and staff working on the forefront of the COVID-19 response. While we are encouraged by the prospect of vaccine availability, we do not believe it will be safe or practical to proceed with large in-person gatherings this academic year. For these reasons we have made the difficult decision now to conduct spring commencement virtually this year, on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

Students will need to opt in to participate in commencement this year. Potential graduates will be sent a separate email early in spring term that will provide them with more details about the virtual celebrations, instructions for opting in, and ways they can participate and personalize the experience.

To those of you who will be graduating this spring, you have so much to celebrate. Your accomplishments and work along this journey have led you to this outstanding achievement. I am deeply proud of each of you—for your strength during this difficult time, for your resilience to push forward, and for the community you share with each other. While I know a virtual ceremony is not the same as an in-person experience, I sincerely hope each of you take part. As we did for the class of 2020, the class of 2021 will also be invited to join us for an in-person celebration in the future.

You can find more details about commencement on our UO commencement website. Please email our team at commencement@uoregon.edu with any questions you or your family may have.

Sincerely,

R. Kevin Marbury Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life