Your guide to Commencement for the Northeastern Class of 2020

hands tossing graduation caps into the air
The Northeastern Class of 2020’s Commencement ceremonies were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Saturday graduates will finally don gowns and tassels, and toss their mortarboards with their classmates. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Class of 2020, your day has finally come.

On Saturday, Northeastern’s 2020 graduates will gather with their classmates and guests in Matthews Arena for a pair of Commencement exercises that were postponed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Graduates are returning to campus from 45 U.S. states and 42 countries to turn tassels with their classmates. The 2020 Commencement ceremonies, which coincide with Homecoming Weekend, are the culmination of a weeklong series of events that include a welcome reception for graduates and their families today, and opportunities for the graduates to share their Husky spirit on campus and remotely.

Award-winning chef, TV host, author, and entrepreneur Ming Tsai will deliver the Commencement address to Northeastern’s 2020 graduates and guests. Class of 2020 Engineering graduates Ulpiano Flores Kuri and Kritika Singh will deliver the student addresses in the morning and afternoon, respectively.

Here’s what else you need to know for the big day:

When should I arrive? 

Members of the Class of 2020 and their guests will attend one of two ceremonies, at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Graduates should begin lining up at designated tents in Matthews Lot an hour and a half before their ceremony start time. Graduates assigned to the morning ceremony should begin to line up at 8:30 a.m., and those assigned to the 2 p.m. ceremony should show up at 12:30 p.m.

Doors for guests will open one hour prior to the ceremony time.

What do I need to bring? 

Bring a mask. In line with Northeastern’s COVID-19 safety protocols, everyone in communal indoor spaces on campus must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose, regardless of vaccination status.

Guests to campus are also required to present documentation of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of that person’s arrival on campus.

Those who have been fully vaccinated must show printed or digital proof of being fully vaccinated, which means the last shot was administered no later than two weeks before the event—Oct. 31, 2021 at the latest. Those 18 and over also must show a photo identification card (a state-issued driver’s license, state-issued ID card, or passport) with a name that matches the COVID-19 vaccination card.

For those who have not been fully vaccinated, proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to that person’s arrival on campus is required. Self-administered at-home rapid or antigen tests will not be accepted. You can find more details here.

Do not bring: backpacks or bags larger than 12 inches, artificial noisemakers, balloons, food or beverages. Concessions will also not be available for sale inside Matthews Arena during the ceremonies.

Where else can I watch the ceremony?

Both ceremonies at Matthews Arena are at full capacity, but if you don’t have a ticket, there are several other ways to watch the university’s 2020 Commencement exercises.

For any family members and friends on campus who are unable to attend the ceremony in person, Blackman Auditorium will be showing the livestream of both Commencement ceremonies. Admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open one hour before each ceremony. Per City of Boston and university guidelines, face coverings will be required, and no concessions are allowed at the venue. Large bags are prohibited, and small bags must be inspected.

The ceremonies will also be streamed live on this dedicated link on Northeastern’s Commencement page, and on the Northeastern Facebook page.

Full coverage of the Class of 2020 Commencement activities by News@Northeastern can also be found in its dedicated Commencement page

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