November 2020

As Chair of the University Commencement Committee, I am excited to share with you that our committee has been planning, exploring, and considering options for your Commencement 2021 Ceremony since July. During these uncertain times, still due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must consider multiple scenarios and adhere to state and county health guidelines. We are unsure what regulations will exist come May 2021, but we want you all to know, we will be prepared.

I want to personally thank each graduate who participated in the recent Commencement 2021 survey.  Your feedback is invaluable!

Dr. Beverly Guidry

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will my ceremony be recorded?

Yes, all commencement ceremonies will be virtual and recorded. Please be advised that individuals participating in family hooding, as well as anyone in close proximity to the graduate, will be captured in any images related to the event, live streamed, and included in the final recording.

Will my ceremony be virtual?

In order give you and your families ample time to plan for this celebratory occasion, we had promised transparency and timely communication. All graduates were surveyed in late fall to gauge expectations for a commencement ceremony that could be impacted by current or post pandemic requirements. Your input helped us envision a unique ceremony that promises to honor your hard work and determination, while prioritizing the safety and wellness of you and your loved ones.


We are determined to do our part to keep the spread of the virus down, especially in facilitating a disruption-free transition to the next steps in your career following graduation. Towards that end, and based on the data we have gathered, we have come to the realization that 2021 commencement cannot be held in-person. Therefore, we have partnered with visionary, technical content developers who are going to help us host a commencement experience for you and your loved ones from the safety of your bubbles/homes. Each college will host a ceremony just for their graduates during the week of May 17, 2021. We encourage you to invite as many guests as you wish to view the ceremony and celebrate your accomplishments in real time. You will have the opportunity to participate in full regalia, take your oath (if applicable), share in the joy of family hooding with your loved ones and partake in other important historical traditions of a WesternU commencement ceremony. The platform that the technical developers are preparing for you will be interactive, technically seamless to access and yet unique and polished, making the experience a memorable one for you and your families to cherish.

Will there be a printed program?

In collaboration with University Publications, we are planning to produce a printed and digital program, as we typically do, to memorialize Commencement 2021. Two copies of the printed program will be available for each graduate.

How soon will my diploma be ready?

This depends on your program. Diplomas cannot be released until the Registrar’s Office confirms that all graduation requirements have been met. Oath administration, for specific colleges, is usually done during the commencement ceremony is a graduation requirement.  

How will graduates receive their cap, gown, and hood?

Your regalia (cap/tam, gown and hood) is ordered from Jostens and will be shipped directly to you. Between February 1-15, 2021, you will be required to complete a graduate participation form, and upon completion of this form you’ll be prompted to order your regalia. The cost of your regalia is covered in your graduate fee but you will need to pay Jostens a nominal fee for shipping (approximately $13.00).

Will students receive a refund of the $350 graduate fee?

Each graduate who was assessed the $350 graduation fee will receive a $165 refund ($150 refund + $15 to cover regalia shipping costs you paid directly to Jostens). These funds will be transferred directly to student bank accounts by April 9, 2021.