Princeton University will reschedule Commencement 2021 to Sunday, May 16, with the goal of hosting an outdoor ceremony at Princeton Stadium. The event would be held in compliance with social distancing and public health protocols set by the state of New Jersey.
The University considered a range of options for Commencement this year, including only hosting a virtual event, and decided to prioritize planning for an in-person ceremony. Based on current guidelines, the University believes it can host a meaningful Commencement experience for its graduating students. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and state guidelines in the weeks ahead — should circumstances change significantly, we may need to pivot to a virtual Commencement ceremony.
Undergraduate seniors who have been living on campus or in the Mercer County/Plainsboro area, who have been part of the University’s asymptomatic testing protocol, and who have not had housing or access to campus revoked because of a Social Contract violation will be invited to Commencement. Graduate students who have received or will receive a Ph.D. or final master’s degree during the current 2020-21 academic year, who are on-campus or in the local area, and are part of the University’s asymptomatic testing program may also attend.
Additionally, the University hopes to invite enrolled seniors and graduating masters and doctoral students who are currently studying remotely to participate in the Commencement ceremony on campus, informed by New Jersey’s health and travel guidelines.
The University is actively exploring whether it will be possible to include guests at the event, informed by the public health landscape and state regulations. The University is discussing options with state authorities and will share more information as it becomes available. Should guests be allowed, there would be a maximum of two guests per student. Families are encouraged not to make non-refundable travel arrangements.
Commencement will be livestreamed for students, families and other members of the University community who do not attend in person. The start time for the ceremony will be announced closer to the date of the event. In the event of severe weather, the in-person ceremony will be moved to Monday, May 17.
The official conferral date of degrees will remain May 25, 2021. Students will receive their diplomas, certificates and official Commencement programs by mail after that date.
The Graduate Hooding ceremony for masters and doctoral students will be held virtually on Monday, May 24. Degree deadlines for graduate students remain the same. The Graduate School will be in contact with advanced degree candidates who may be eligible to participate in the virtual Hooding.
Other end-of-year events for seniors in the Class of 2021 (Baccalaureate, Class Day, residential college celebrations, and department and program celebrations and events) will take place virtually. The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students will work with members of the Class of 2021 to plan virtual events for seniors, while the Office of the Dean of the College will advise departments and programs on virtual celebrations.
An in-person ROTC Commissioning Ceremony is currently being planned for graduating seniors participating in the ROTC program. More information will be sent directly to ROTC students in the Class of 2021.
Members of the Classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 will be required to move out of their dorms within 24 hours of finishing their last final exam. At the latest, all students (except graduating seniors) must vacate campus within 24 hours after final exams conclude on Friday, May 14. Graduating seniors in the Class of 2021 will need to fully vacate their dorm rooms by noon on the day following Commencement.
The University will continue to engage with the state of New Jersey as we develop plans for year-end events. Additional details regarding Commencement should be announced by April.