Class of 2021 Commencement to be held in person

Dear members of the Class of 2021, 

We are excited to announce that the university will hold in-person Commencement ceremonies for your class May 15–16.

Commencement is an essential and cherished part of the Vanderbilt experience, and holding an in-person celebration would not have been possible without the ongoing commitment shown by our students, faculty and staff in observing safety protocols and supporting each other during these unprecedented times. As with our decision to reopen campus to learning and teaching this past fall, the Vanderbilt community has shown that it can come together and succeed in spite of the challenges of the pandemic.

The undergraduate ceremony will be Saturday, May 15, at Vanderbilt Stadium. Graduate and professional ceremonies will be at various times on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, at outdoor locations across campus. Each graduating student may have up to two guests attend their ceremony. 

We are also excited to announce that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top leader in infectious disease research and an internationally renowned biomedical scientist, will receive Vanderbilt’s prestigious Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal on Friday, May 14, when he delivers a virtual speech to the graduating students and their guests on Graduates Day. The event, which includes all undergraduate, graduate and professional students receiving degrees, will also be open to all Vanderbilt alumni and to the public

Following the guidance of the university’s public health experts, all of the Commencement ceremonies and related events will take place outdoors and require all attendees to wear masks and observe physical distancing. The two guests of each graduate will sit together in “pod-style” seating but must keep their masks on and maintain physical distance from other guests.

Tickets for graduates and their two guests will be available starting March 8 and must be reserved by March 31. Any remaining tickets will be available in another reservation window after the initial reservation period.

All members of the Class of 2021, including those who are studying remotely the spring semester, are invited to attend the in-person Commencement celebration. Since not all graduates and their friends and families will be able to attend in person, we are also planning a special virtual experience for Commencement. During the livestreams of the weekend’s events, we will recognize all graduates, whether they are attending virtually or in person.

We encourage you to regularly check the Class of 2021 Commencement website as event plans could change at any time based on the pandemic and updates to safety protocols. 

We hope that this in-person celebration will be a memorable milestone after more than a year of unprecedented pressures brought about by the pandemic. You have demonstrated an immense amount of dedication to your studies during that time, and we look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with you.  

Anchor Down, 

Daniel Diermeier

Susan R. Wente