The UIS 2021 Commencement Stage Experience


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May is just around the corner, Prairie Stars! Alongside it comes finals week and the 2021 commencement ceremony for those who have finished their degree requirements and applied for graduation. However, this year the commencement experience will be somewhat different compared to what was hosted pre-coronavirus, as the pandemic is still an ongoing public health crisis.

The deadline for graduates to apply for their stage experience time slot ended on April 14, and any student unable or unwilling to attend the event can still purchase a cap and gown online. Caps and gowns can be picked up from the UIS Bookstore from May 11 to 14 and the stage experience is set to be held Thursday, May 13, and Friday, May 14 at Sangamon Auditorium. Students are allowed up to six guests to attend the stage experience and there will be a virtual livestream for those who are unable to attend. Students are required to have a proven negative COVID-19 test result two days prior to the event in order to receive their diploma covers and to be congratulated by Chancellor Whitney and Provost Papini. Face masks must be worn at all times, including during photos and when onstage, and social distancing must be practiced by all students and guests.

Students will check in near the bookstore in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center, and in attendance will be eight graduating students and their 48 guests per time slot. While in attendance, attendees will see a sneak peak of the virtual celebration scheduled to be held on May 15, and guests will be directed to their corresponding section within the Sangamon Auditorium for social distancing purposes. Graduates will then have their names announced, will walk across the stage, receive their diploma cover, and then be able to pause for photos before exiting. The event itself is non-seated and is expected to take roughly 30 minutes, from the initial check-in to exiting the stage.

Congratulations to those who are graduating from UIS and attending the 2021 Commencement Stage Experience! It might not be the commencement anyone envisioned years ago when embarking on their educational journey at UIS, but to have this opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic is a gift. As such, please take the public health precautions seriously, follow the guidelines set by the university, and enjoy this year’s commencement ceremony!