October commencement ceremony will honor 2020 graduates

University leaders are making good on their promise of an in-person graduation ceremony for students who completed Iowa State degrees in 2020.

The pandemic forced spring and fall commencement celebrations last year into a virtual format. On Saturday, Oct. 9, those graduates will have the chance to walk across a stage and hear their name read aloud. The single ceremony, for recipients of all four types of degrees, will begin at 10 a.m. in Hilton Coliseum.

This year's spring and summer graduates also were invited to participate.

While the total number of eligible graduates exceeds 12,000, interim assistant registrar for certification and eligibility Abbie Suntken said the registrar's team anticipates a more intimate event, perhaps in the range of 500 to 800 graduates. By last week, just over 200 had confirmed their attendance, about 70% of them bachelor's degree recipients.

"This ceremony is intended to honor and formally recognize those 2020 graduates, along with some spring and summer 2021 graduates, who didn't have an opportunity to walk or experience that graduation atmosphere in person," Suntken said. "The university wants to celebrate them."

Doctoral students have until Sept. 12 to RSVP. Bachelor's, master's and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree graduates are asked to respond to their email invitations by Sept. 26. Any 2020 or 2021 degree recipient who didn't receive an email invitation should contact the registrar's office, graduation@iastate.edu, to receive the website link.

Cyclone pomp

The estimated two-hour (or less) ceremony will include a processional, remarks from President Wendy Wintersteen, graduation address by a to-be-named individual, conferring of degrees, brass and vocal music traditions and celebratory streamers. All graduates will walk across the stage as their name and graduation term are announced. Master's and both doctoral-level students' academic majors also will be included, as will the name of the professor hooding Ph.D. and DVM graduates. The professors will sit with their graduating doctoral students during the ceremony.

Graduates received a copy of Iowa State's commemorative commencement program for the term they graduated. Guests and graduates will receive a simple order of events program the day of the ceremony.

At this time, there are no limits on guests allowed to attend the ceremony in Hilton. Suntken said the university will monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on large indoor events and change the guest rules if needed.

The Oct. 9 ceremony will be livestreamed for family and friends not able to attend and archived on the registrar's website with previous graduation events.