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Update on Rochester’s Commencement Ceremonies and Ways to Take Part

For parents and families:

As the University of Rochester’s 2021 Commencement approaches, we wanted to update parents and families on how the ceremonies will take place. We’re grateful that in a very challenging year, we’re able to provide graduates with the opportunity to celebrate their academic achievements with in-person commencement and diploma ceremonies. Keeping students safe while allowing them to take part in such meaningful moments has been the highest priority in our planning.

With that in mind, beginning with a series of ceremonies on May 14 and continuing through May 23, graduates from schools and programs throughout the University will be recognized at both outdoor and indoor events. The two-week schedule is necessary because of campus, county, and statewide mandates limiting the size of gatherings, social distancing guidelines, and other safety measures. For those students who have not been able to attend classes on campus, we’ve implemented health and testing protocols so that they may come to campus and join with their friends and classmates at Commencement.

Because of the limits on gatherings and because of the capacities of campus venues, we have to continue to keep campus closed to visitors, including parents, families, and other guests. We recognize the significance of wanting to share this special moment with your graduates, and we wish we could safely open up the ceremonies to in-person guests, but, logistically, it becomes very difficult to do this while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for everyone. For those reasons, we decided to limit attendees at all indoor and outdoor Commencement ceremonies to only graduating students and the University faculty and staff needed to manage the events of a particular day. On-campus parking will only be available to graduates and staff, and the River Campus and Eastman School of Music campuses remain closed to foot traffic; there’s no inside access to any campus buildings.

Although parents and families can’t be there in person, we are pleased to be able to offer several options for families and guests to help share the excitement of the day. Visit our Ways to Take Part page for an overview of these opportunities.

Please let us know if you have questions via email at

The 2021 Commencement Committee

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