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ISU Announces Redbird Stage Crossing for Graduates

Written by on February 2, 2021

Photo courtesy to ISU

NORMAL, Ill.- On Monday, Feb. 1,  all potential Illinois State University graduates for the Spring of 2021 and Summer 2021 received the long awaited update on what their commencement ceremony would look like. 

Last year, graduates received a strictly virtual ceremony at the scheduled time of their graduation. Students were able to watch their name, picture, and a few more facts show up on their T.V. in a slide show. 

This year, students will have that option, but they will also have the option to do a “Redbird Stage Crossing.” 

“Redbird Stage Crossing is a personalized, in-person experience in place of a traditional commencement ceremony,” said ISU Associate Dean of Students Jill Benson. 

This ceremony is a non-seated 15 to 20 minute ordeal that would take place in the Redbird Arena. During the crossing, the graduate will have their name read as they cross a commencement stage and a personalized slide will appear on the big screen. 

“The full commencement stage will be set in its traditional format,” said Benson. 

Students will receive their diploma cover, and a professional photographer will be there to capture every moment. 

Graduates will be allowed to bring four guests to watch them walk that will stay with them throughout the whole 20 minute experience. 

“This stage crossing is designed to offer graduates and their guests the opportunity to mark this special occasion in-person, while still following the State of Illinois guidance for gatherings amid COVID-19,” said Benson. 

In a traditional commencement ceremony, much of the university staff including President Dietz would attend and speak. Unfortunately, at the Redbird Stage Crossing that will not be possible. However, President Dietz will have a speech during the online ceremony. 

Graduates have the option to order and wear a cap and gown, but it is not required. Masks will be required throughout the experience, with the exception of when the Redbird is doing the actual stage crossing. 

Registration is set to open on February 15th, and the ceremonies will be over several weeks from the end of April to beginning of May. Time slots will range late morning to early evening during the week and weekend. 

Benson said they have allotted enough dates and times for every single graduate who wishes to participate may do so, but there is a limit to the number of guests who can register for each timeslot. 

The stage crossing is also available for those who graduated in 2020 and wish to have an in-person ceremony. Those who wish to do that can fill out this form.