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Commencement 2021

Schedule of Events

Order of The Engineer Induction Ceremony
Friday, May 14, 2021
6:00 p.m.
Replay on YouTube

Undergraduate Commencement [download digital program]

Saturday, May 15, 2021
1:00 p.m.
Replay on YouTube

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Hooding Ceremony
Saturday, May 15, 2021
7:00 p.m.
Replay on YouTube

Graduate Commencement [download digital program]
Sunday, May 16, 2021
1:00 p.m.
Replay on YouTube


In celebration of our Class of 2021, Commencement took place virtually, with a theme of “The Future is Ours, Let’s Make It Golden.” Our high quality and high spirit virtual ceremony connected our graduates and their families as they watched from home in a safe and joyful manner, with a few surprises included along the way.

The program included both live elements and pre-recorded videos, and graduates were able to interact with their class as well as faculty and staff in the chat feature.

Commencement FAQ

When is Commencement 2021?

Undergraduate Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

Graduate Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

How is Commencement happening?

This year’s Commencement will be held virtually. Faculty, staff, and students and their families will watch the ceremonies remotely via YouTube Live.

The program will include both live elements and pre-recorded videos, and graduates will be able to interact with their class as well as faculty and staff in the chat feature.

What is this year’s Commencement theme?

Thanks to the participation of our graduates, our theme for Commencement is “The Future is Ours, Let’s Make it Golden.”

Will I still get to walk across the stage at Commencement?

Yes! It is very important to us that you get your moment to walk across the stage.

Graduates will have the opportunity to have their traditional walk across the stage in their regalia video recorded. This video will be played as names are read during the Commencement ceremony.

During this time, each graduate will also have a free professional photo taken of them in their cap and gown.

Please note that walking across the stage is for participating students only. No parents, children, or guests will be allowed to attend.

Graduates will be able to make an appointment for their video recording session soon.

What if I am unable to come to campus to film my walk across the stage?

If you are unable to come to campus, you can still be involved in Commencement by creating your own video shout-out! Record yourself (or have someone record you) giving a 5-7 second shout-out to those who have helped you along the way. If you are using your phone, please hold them horizontally (the long way). Submissions longer than 5-7 seconds will be edited for length.

Upload your submissions with your name to https://www.dropbox.com/request/yROeyzo2hjDMTfdQ1oEB

Is there still time for me to get my cap and gown?

Yes! If you are a graduating senior who needs to get your cap and gown, you can still do so at the Blue and Gold Bookstore in the Campus Center. All you need to do is:

  • Go to the Bookstore in the Campus Center
  • Let them know your major and height
  • Bring a payment of $15.00

Will I have my honors cords in time for my walk across the stage?

Because academic honors are not determined until after final grades are calculated, we will film you walking across the stage without your cords.

We hope to have a celebration at the end of the month for you to pick up your cords and have your photo taken while wearing them.

If I have cords and stoles from student organizations, can I wear them to walk across the stage?

Not all student groups have had their cords delivered yet, so in order to be equitable, all graduates will do their walk and give their shout outs without any extra cords or stoles. 

However, you may bring any cords you have and wear them during your professional photo.

Alpha Lambda Delta members: we do have an ALD cord for graduates to borrow during their photo, and it is being properly sanitized after each use. Please ask for the ALD cord when you check in.

What should I wear under my gown for my walk across the stage?

There are not any rules about attire, but we hope you will consider wearing something appropriate for the occasion.

Where can I find the photos taken at my Commencement walk appointment?

All professional photos taken during the Commencement walk appointments will be uploaded onto Dropbox for graduates.

Check back here soon for the Dropbox link.

When will I get my diploma?

Diplomas will be mailed to graduates in June at the home address we have listed on our records.

How can I update my home address so my diploma goes to the right place?

Email records@wne.edu to update your home address.

Will I get a program for Commencement?

A PDF of the Commencement program will be available on the Commencement website on the day of the event. A keepsake program will be mailed home to families with the graduates’ diplomas.

Where and when can I pick up my regalia?

Regalia can be picked up at the Blue and Gold Campus Bookstore.

Undergraduates can pick their regalia up starting on April 5.  The cost for undergraduate regalia is $15.00.

Graduates can pick their regalia up starting on April 12. 

Is there going to be a student Commencement speaker?

Yes, we will have a student speaker for Commencement. The selected student speaker will present their remarks in a pre-recorded video.

Commencement Decision FAQ

Other schools can figure out how to host an in-person commencement, why can’t WNE?

All schools are different. There are large schools hosting ceremonies in large stadiums and ballparks. These are not options for us. There are no large facilities for us to rent at this time. There are smaller schools that have announced in-person ceremonies and WNE has reached out to them for insight. Most of them do not have a plan yet on how they are going to actually do this and keep their community safe. WNE is not comfortable operating in this way. We are very different from high schools and cannot utilize similar models. A college commencement and high school commencement is different.

We have been able to come up with scenarios to host on-campus ceremonies, but none of them allowed us to protect our students, employees, and guests while still adhering to state guidelines. We cannot simply put chairs on the football field and invite family to sit in bleachers. The space is not large enough and our campus could not accommodate the logistics and ensure everyone’s safety. We also did not want to plan a commencement where we separate students and families. Many other schools are doing this. We do not feel comfortable doing this to our families.

Why can’t you divide the ceremonies over a number of days in small groups?

As is the case above, we do not feel we could keep students and employees safe, even in small groups. Further, we do not feel this would deliver a positive experience. The Massachusetts guidelines require no gatherings before or after the ceremony, and no food or drink. There are many other restrictions that we believe would create a negative experience for our guests. The last thing we want to do is to have to force guests off our campus during an on-campus ceremony.

Why can’t students do a ceremony without family?

We feel the experience would be better for students and families to be together at home. Separating families provides both logistical, financial, and equity issues for many of our families.