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ISU Commencement During Pandemic

Written by on November 29, 2021

Photo courtesy Illinois State University Facebook Page

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State University’s commencement is going to be a little bit different this year than what students are used to.  

Associate Dean Jill Benson says this year’s commencement has a variety of options for students. One of those options includes a traditional ceremony with a particular distinction from other ceremonies. 

The difference with the ceremonies this year though, is that they are degree conferral ceremonies. This means that every aspect of the ceremonies that we’ve traditionally had is intact except for the portion where the students cross the stage and have their names read aloud,” said Benson. 

The portion of the stage crossing will instead be offered in an individualized way.  

According to the Illinois State University Graduation Services page, “Graduates will not be individually recognized or cross the stage at commencement ceremonies. However, these experiences are available at the optional Redbird Stage Crossing.” 

Students will have a range of days to select an appointment for their individualized experience. Graduates will have their names read as they cross the stage and receive a diploma cover in the Brown Ballroom at the Bone Student Center.  

“But that portion that stage crossing portion is available at the individualized rendered stage crossing. Which is the event that we started last spring amid COVID. It was very, very popular among graduates and their guests and so we brought that back,” said Benson. 

Students are able to choose to attend both, one, or none. Benson says individualized ceremonies are the favored option. 

“We actually have not received any negative feedback, and nothing has changed except for the addition of other options for students which has been very positively received. The Redbird Stage Crossing actually has been the favored option. We have more students who have chosen to participate in the Red Bird Stage Crossing than we do students who have chosen to participate in the commencement ceremonies,” said Benson.  

The commencement ceremonies are expected to last about an hour and students will not have a limit on the number of guests who may attend. The ceremony includes the graduate processional, degree conferral, a symbolic tassel move for undergraduate students, and remarks by President Kinzy. 

Students seeking updates on commencement ceremonies can visit graduation services and will have information shared via email after applying for graduation.  

The university will continue to follow state guidance regarding COVID-19 guidelines at the time and advise participants to do the same.