Multiple in-person events is the goal for spring commencement

If COVID-19 cases remain in check, Iowa State will hold four in-person spring graduation events May 7-8, including a six-chapter event Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium that honors bachelor's degree recipients one college at a time. President Wendy Wintersteen shared plans with the university community in a March 1 letter.

"While it is our intent to offer modified in-person commencement activities, we will change course if necessary and as conditions warrant to maintain the safety of our graduates and guests," she wrote.

As proposed, ceremonies for bachelor's and master's students would be held outdoors at the football stadium, and ceremonies for doctor of veterinary medicine and all other doctoral candidates would be held in Hilton Coliseum. For COVID-19 safety reasons, the undergraduate "Cyclone Graduation Celebration" will take the place of college convocations, and college/department staff will assist with their college's event at the stadium, said associate registrar Amber Tiarks.

The selected venues will provide space for graduating students and guests to practice physical distancing. All attendees will be required to wear face coverings, and the programs will be shortened, Wintersteen wrote.

The proposed schedule is:

Friday, May 7

  • 11 a.m., ceremony for master's candidates, Cardinal stage, Jack Trice Stadium
  • 3 p.m., ceremony for DVM candidates, Hilton Coliseum
  • 7 p.m., ceremony for Ph.D. candidates, Hilton Coliseum

Saturday, May 8

  • 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., six undergraduate events by college, Cardinal and Gold stages (east and west sides), Jack Trice Stadium

"We are proud of all of our students for their resilience and determination to continue their academic progress, and we look forward to celebrating safely in-person with our newest graduates this spring," Wintersteen wrote.

She noted the venue selections were based in part on the athletics department's protocols and success in holding safe events in them this fall and winter. The intent is to not limit attendance at the stadium ceremonies, however guest capacities will be in place for the two Hilton ceremonies. As another safety strategy, participation in the graduation ceremonies will be limited to students graduating either this spring or summer. Students who completed their degrees in spring, summer or fall 2020 were honored at virtual ceremonies, and university leaders still plan to invite them to a future in-person opportunity, Wintersteen said.