Iowa State, Iowa, U-N-I planning 2021 commencements


(Undated) -- Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa are planning modified graduation ceremonies this spring. Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen announced to students that a series of commencement ceremonies will be held May 7th and 8th in both Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. Wintersteen says the decision was made after the experience of safely allowing fans into the football stadium.

The University of Northern Iowa has also announced a modified graduation ceremony, but also plans to offer a virtual/remote opportunity for students. The University of Iowa plans to release it's plans later this month.

Dear Iowa State Community,

I am pleased to announce Iowa State University’s intention to hold modified in-person Spring 2021 Commencement celebrations for the Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D. and DVM graduating classes.

These decisions have been informed by our monitoring of COVID-19 on campus and in the community, as well as our experience with safely allowing limited attendance at athletic events where guests wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. 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.

Bachelor’s Event. We intend for undergraduates to be recognized during a Cyclone Graduation Celebration at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday, May 8.This series of separate events, organized by college, will be modified from the traditional commencement ceremony, but will include:

· A shorter-than-usual program to officially confer the degrees

· The reading of individual names as graduates cross the stage wearing academic attire

· Formal graduation photographs

We do not anticipate needing to limit guest attendance due to the large capacity and outdoor setting of the stadium. All graduates and guests will be required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. Start times for each of the college events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Master’s Event. We intend for Master’s graduates to be recognized in a similar celebration at Jack Trice Stadium Friday, May 7, at 11 a.m.

Ph.D. and DVM Events. Commencement ceremonies for Ph.D. and DVM graduates will be held in-person at Hilton Coliseum Friday, May 7 at 3 p.m.(DVM) and 7 p.m.(Ph.D.). These programs will also be modified, and guest attendance will be limited to ensure physical distancing. As for the Bachelor’s and Master’s events, all graduates and guests will be required to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing.

Additional information. More details and instructions for each event are forthcoming, including inclement weather alternatives for the Bachelor’s and Master’s events. The Registrar’s Office will communicate directly with candidates for graduation. Updates will be posted on as they become available. The official commencement program will be made available to degree candidates regardless of attendance.

The events outlined above will be limited to only those students graduating in Spring 2021 or Summer 2021, in order to safely accommodate graduates and guests. We remain committed to inviting Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020 graduates back to campus for a future in-person commencement when conditions allow, and we will provide additional information on that opportunity in the fall.

We know this past year has presented incredible challenges for you. 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. I wish you all the best as you finish out the semester!

Wendy Wintersteen, President

Below is a statement issued by the University of Northern Iowa:

The University of Northern Iowa is inviting our spring 2021 graduates to celebrate their accomplishments at modified, in-person commencement ceremonies inside the UNI-DOME in May. 

In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, three separate ceremonies for bachelor’s and master’s candidates will be held in the UNI-DOME from May 7-8. Plans for a separate doctoral candidate ceremony are expected to be announced within a few weeks.

A virtual commencement will still be held that weekend and spring 2021 graduates can take part in both events. 

Graduates will be allowed to bring a limited number of guests, and the university will livestream the ceremonies for those who cannot attend. Due to the limited number of individuals able to be hosted in the UNI-DOME, these ceremonies will only be for May 2021 graduates. UNI will honor May and December 2020 graduates at a later date.