*Published on March 15, 2021
To the Northeastern Community,
I am writing to provide an update on the university’s 2021 commencement plans. As I outlined in my prior message, there are three cohorts of graduates we will recognize—2021 undergraduates, 2021 graduate and Ph.D. students, and 2020 graduates. We will continue to keep the community informed as plans progress.
2021 Undergraduate Students
I am pleased to announce that commencement exercises for our 2021 undergraduates will take place on Saturday, May 8 at the iconic Fenway Park in Boston—a first-of-its-kind “double header,” rain or shine. Current gathering limits allow us to host a morning and afternoon ceremony, which will accommodate all eligible undergraduates. As soon as capacity numbers are finalized, we will inform the community about guest accommodations.
All seating will adhere to state and local public health guidelines; all in attendance will be required to complete a health survey and attestation form in advance. Each ceremony will last approximately 90 minutes. As in past years, the ceremony will be livestreamed to audiences around the world. Additional details about venue regulations, electronic ticketing, and the program will be available in the coming weeks.
As communicated previously, all eligible undergraduate students in the Class of 2021 (December 2020 graduates, May and August 2021 degree candidates) are invited to attend. The commencement office will be in touch with students later this week to request RSVPs.
Plans are also taking shape for an exciting week-long commencement celebration which will kick off Saturday, May 1. The week’s events will include a procession across campus—in cap and gown—ending with an on-stage photo op at Matthews Arena. Other interactive and social elements will be scheduled throughout the week. More details to come.
2021 Graduate, School of Law, and College of Professional Studies Students
After several planning discussions with the academic deans, and with state and local capacity guidelines in mind, all spring graduation ceremonies will be held virtually. Graduate students will be invited to a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 7 followed by separate virtual recognition events hosted by their respective colleges. Ceremony dates and related details for the virtual ceremonies for the School of Law and the College of Professional Studies will be shared in separate communications from the relevant deans.
All graduating students will be invited to participate in the week-long celebration events taking place on campus throughout the first week of May—including the procession across campus—with opportunities to socialize and interact with fellow graduates.
After consulting with members of the class of 2020, as well as state and city officials, planning has moved to a commencement celebration in the fall to coincide with Homecoming Week in November. Our Alumni Relations office continues to work collaboratively with members of the Class of 2020 on celebration plans, including an in-person ceremony.
As planning moves ahead, we will continue to be guided by science and remain agile so that we can adjust course should conditions change beyond our control. We will inform the community immediately if this should happen. As spring approaches and conditions continue to improve, we remain excited to celebrate our graduates in May.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs