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Update on DePaul's 2021 Commencement

Commencement 2021

Congratulations to the Class of 2021. They have accomplished so much and are completing their degrees in a year like no other – completing coursework, participating in student-led organizations, developing professional skillsets, serving the local community, competing in sports and living DePaul's Vincentian mission.

With new, more contagious variants and a slow vaccine rollout, COVID-19 remains a serious threat across the country. In a traditional year, DePaul hosts nearly 60,000 people in the Wintrust Arena and Chicago Theatre for commencement ceremonies. Unfortunately, it is unlikely in the next few months, the city of Chicago will lift its restrictions on large in-person gatherings to make our traditional ceremonies possible. As a result, DePaul will instead host on-campus activities and online commencement ceremonies in May and June. This will give the Class of 2021 the opportunity to safely celebrate achieving this milestone.

DePaul realizes this is not the commencement graduates, their loved ones and the DePaul community hoped for. We understand everyone's disappointment and frustration. We are making this decision now to eliminate a level of uncertainty and to give the planning team time to build on last year's online ceremonies with on-campus activities that will help the entire DePaul community celebrate their accomplishments. While these activities haven't been finalized, DePaul is very excited to celebrate the Class of 2021 before they transition from DePaul student to DePaul graduate.

Student input

In the coming months, Academic Events will engage with students for additional input—a vitally important aspect of the planning process. Earlier this year, DePaul's Student Government Association established an ad hoc committee to help Academic Events with this year's activities.

Celebratory on-campus activities

Leading up to the debut of the online ceremonies, the Class of 2021 will have the chance to safely celebrate their accomplishments on campus with outdoor activities over 10 days in May. These events will be optional and will follow the city of Chicago's COVID-19 mandates. 

Be on the lookout for details in Newsline and on the Commencement website.

Online ceremonies

In addition to the on-campus activities, on May 22 for the College of Law and June 12 for the remaining colleges, DePaul will launch celebratory online commencement ceremonies for graduates, their family and friends, and the DePaul community to view and share through YouTube and the DePaul commencement website.

Each school or college will have its own dedicated ceremony, featuring DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., a student speaker, and the dean from each college or school. Graduates will also have their own digital slide, similar to DIBS' above, that can be personalized with a photo and message.

We hope to announce notable guest speakers soon.

What students need to do now:

  • Review diploma mailing address: Go to Campus Connect to verify their diploma mailing address is correct by March 8 for the College of Law and March 15 for all others. The university needs this address for your kit and, later, your diploma. To review, follow this path: Profile>Addresses>Diploma Address.
  • Order graduation regalia: This is optional. However, if graduates want to purchase a cap and gown for photos, family celebrations and/or the on-campus activities, order by March 15. Ordering information and details can be found on the commencement website
  • Apply to be your college's student speaker: One student from each college, will be selected to speak during the college's online ceremony. This does not include the College of Law. Visit the commencement website to learn more and submit your application by March 15.

Congratulations again to the Class of 2021 and be on the lookout for more information about all the activities we are planning on the Commencement website and in Newsline.