IWU to hold in-person graduation for class of 2021

Gabrielle Ghaderi

Veronica Torres Luna ‘19 at her graduation.
Photo: Illinois Wesleyan University

 

Illinois Wesleyan University will hold in-person commencement for the Class of 2021 on Sunday, May 2. The graduation will consist of two ceremonies–one in the morning and one in the afternoon–with graduates being divided into two groups based primarily on departmental majors. Both ceremonies will be held at IWU’s Tucci Stadium. 

The location of Tucci Stadium, as opposed to the traditional location on the steps of State Farm Hall, will allow the event to be held in compliance with health guidelines. 

President Georgia Nugent said in her email that “health guidance from the state about attendance at large gatherings continues to evolve, but at this point we feel confident that we will be able to host spectator attendance equal to 25 percent of Tucci Stadium’s capacity.” This reduced capacity equates to around 900 spectators in addition to the faculty and graduates. 

The ceremonies are expected to be held outdoors even in light rain or cool temperatures, but in the event of severe weather alerts, commencement will be moved to the Performance Gym at the Shirk Center. According to the Commencement webpage “If moved inside, we will need to make adjustments for how spectators can participate,” but those changes have yet to be disclosed.

Each graduate is allowed four guests, with additional tickets available upon request. The ceremonies will also be live-streamed from the Illinois Wesleyan University Commencement website. 

The announcement of an in-person graduation comes with a feeling of relief for graduates such as Physics and Secondary Education major Caleb Hansen. 

“It makes me happy. I knew not having a graduation last year was difficult for the previous seniors and I didn’t want to end an important part of my life without closure,” Hansen said. 

Religion and Business double-major Ryan Haas expressed a similar sentiment “I was excited to see that all the hard work I had put in over the last four years was going to be recognized in an in-person ceremony,” he said.

Though the in-person commencement ceremony seems to come well received by the current senior class, the knowledge that many seniors will not be able to graduate alongside their friends tinges the otherwise celebratory news with a pang of sadness. 

“I know they are trying to be safe, but it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to graduate with some of my friends,” Hansen said. 

Both Hansen and Haas expressed wishing they had more control over who they graduated alongside, but realize how it may further complicate the process. 

“It will never be the same as commencements of the past, but I’m happy that IWU is trying to give seniors a normal end to their undergraduate experience,” Haas said. 

To learn more about Illinois Wesleyan’s plans for Commencement 2021, see https://www.iwu.edu/commencement/ for continued updates.