All you need to know about UNO’s May 2021 Commencement Ceremony

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Zach Gilbert
NEWS EDITOR

With UNO’s May 2021 Commencement Ceremony set to take place in-person on May 7 and May 10, here’s all you need to know to participate in these events. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

After a year away, UNO will once again host an in-person commencement ceremony for graduates at Baxter Arena this May, and, as such, it’s imperative that students are fully aware of all the essential information about this event ahead of time.

To prioritize the health and safety of the graduates, their family and friends and the UNO community, commencement will take place over two days, reducing the number of people in the Baxter Arena at once. The schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, May 7, 2021
    • 8:00 a.m.
      • College of Arts and Sciences
    • 12:00 p.m.
      • College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
      • College of Communication, Fine Arts, and Media
    • 4:00 p.m.
      • College of Business Administration
    • 7:30 p.m.
      • College of Public Affairs and Community Service
    • Monday, May 10, 2021
      • 8:00 a.m.
        • College of Information Science & Technology
        • UNL College of Engineering
      • 12:00 p.m. – Graduate Studies
        • College of Arts and Sciences
        • College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
        • College of Communication, Fine Arts, and Media
      • 7:30 p.m. – Graduate Studies
        • College of Business Administration
        • College of Public Affairs and Community Service
        • College of Information Science & Technology
        • UNL College of Engineering

Many students are understandably enthusiastic about an in-person Commencement, especially after months of uncertainty.

“Graduating in-person means more to me than just receiving a diploma after four years,” graduating senior Grace Wagner said. “Specifically this year, [it] feels like finally overcoming a mountain that seemingly never stopped growing and now getting to celebrate a victory at its peak. Graduation this year is a tangible feeling of hope, after a year of anticipating losing grip of our future. I couldn’t be more excited to wear my cap and gown, receive my diploma, and walk across that stage. That is a moment I will never want to take for granted.

Additionally, seniors have considerable respect for UNO’s continued efforts to bring this Commencement Ceremony into being.

“I am so incredibly thankful for UNO for [making] an in-person ceremony possible for students,” Wagner said. “I know from a student’s perspective, this is a step towards normalcy that we all need and equally appreciate, yet it was something plenty of us certainly took for granted before COVID. UNO offering an in-person ceremony gives a kind of hope and excitement that is difficult to put in words. More than anything, I feel a resounding gratitude for UNO’s work to make this graduation possible.”

In an effort to adhere to health and safety requirements and best maintain social distancing, each graduate will only receive four guest tickets. Graduates will receive an email to their UNO email address with details on how to claim the tickets.

“We understand that commencement is a major life event for all of our graduates and having to limit the number of guests is not ideal,” UNO said in their official instructional email. “We do apologize for this inconvenience, but the health and safety of all individuals visiting our campus and our May 2021 Commencement is our top priority.”

Friends and family who cannot physically attend the Commencement Ceremony can watch online, as a link to the livestream will be posted on the UNO Commencement website.

As mentioned above, all ceremonies will take place at Baxter Arena (2425 S. 67th St.).

Doors will open one hour prior to each ceremony, and graduates/guests should plan to arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to their ceremony for check-in, line-up and instructions.

All graduates and guests are instructed to enter through the main doors on the southwest side of the Baxter Arena. From there, all graduates will proceed to the Holland Ice on the main level for line-up and instructions. All guests will proceed up the stairs to the Concourse on the second level to locate their assigned seats.

During the ceremony, the Chancellor will confer the degrees to students who are graduating. Individual degree candidates will be announced and awarded their diploma covers as they walk across the stage, with actual diplomas being mailed 15-20 business days after Commencement. Their photos will then be taken by a professional photographer, and proofs will be emailed after the ceremony.

Graduate degree candidates will receive a medallion in addition to their diploma cover. However, specialist and doctoral candidates will not be “hooded,” in order to maintain social distancing.

All students participating in commencement are required to wear the UNO branded cap and gown. A student’s cap and gown order also serves as their RSVP for the ceremony. If a student has not placed their order yet, they must contact the UNO Bookstore as soon as possible. The order deadline for the May 2021 Commencement is Friday, April 23, 2021.

All graduation requirements for May degree candidates must be completed and on file with the Office of the University Registrar by May 28, 2021 – 15 working days after the last day of the term. This includes the satisfaction of incomplete grades in courses required for one’s degree.

Graduation requirements must be certified by your College Dean. Written notification of this policy is provided to every student who applies for a degree. If a student has questions about meeting the degree requirements, they should contact their College Advisor or the Office of the University Registrar at 402.554.2314 or unoregistrar@unomaha.edu.

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