In-person activities added to 2021 virtual commencement

The University of Oregon is inviting the Class of 2021 to participate in two in-person commencement activities that will be held in addition to the virtual commencement ceremony previously announced.

The in-person activities, a graduate parade down East 13th Avenue and a live-streamed stage procession, will be held on the Eugene campus Saturday, June 12, following the virtual ceremonies. Both in-person activities required Oregon Health Authority approval and are contingent on favorable county COVID-19 health conditions at the time.

“After listening to students and their families, we sought to create commencement activities that would replicate as much of the traditional commencement day as possible, while protecting the UO and our community during the pandemic,” said Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life. “The traditional Grad Parade and processionals are wonderful traditions that celebrate the success of our students. We are pleased to be able to add these two in-person events for our 2021 graduates and recognize their tremendous achievements.”

The Grad Parade, one of the more memorable parts of each year’s commencement, will start at 12:30 p.m. in front of Matthew Knight Arena and end at a dedicated area on the Memorial Quad. Immediately following the parade, graduates will individually cross a stage as their names are read aloud, and then have their pictures taken after the stage procession.

Graduates will be required to opt in to participate in the in-person activities and follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining proper social distance from each other.

Both in-person activities are for graduates only. The stage procession will be livestreamed for families and friends to watch from their homes, and photographs will be made available for participating graduates to purchase.

The virtual ceremonies for the university and individual schools and colleges will be begin at 9 a.m. June 12 and can be viewed by visiting the commencement website.

“We would like to thank the Oregon Health Authority for granting the UO approval for these in-person opportunities,” said André Le Duc, the university’s chief resilience officer. “We are adding these activities responsibly, keeping the health and safety of our students and employees and the Lane County community a priority."

Le Duc and Marbury cautioned that should COVID-19 conditions worsen between now and commencement day, the university may be required cancel the events with little or no notice.

“We know a virtual commencement, even with the addition of in-person activities, is not the same as our traditional commencement day,” Marbury said. “We hope the Class of 2021, as well as the Class of 2020, will join us in person next year. I continue to be impressed by our students’ resilience, positive attitudes and perseverance through this pandemic.”

The Division of Student Life will send both 2020 and 2021 graduates information about commencement 2022 in the fall.

More information on all of this year’s commencement activities is available on the commencement website.