To the Class of 2021—Updates on Our Commencement

The UW Senior Class Office shared the following message in partnership with the announcement to spring graduates from Chancellor Blank and Senior Class President Alec Bukowiec regarding Spring Commencement:

Photo by Bryce Richter, UW-Madison

To the Class of 2021:

By now, you have likely seen Chancellor Blank and Senior Class President Alec Bukowiec’s exciting update regarding our commencement this May. As you know, we have been working in partnership with the Chancellor’s office on commencement planning and have asked for your help with that partnership through our open dropbox. We want to take a moment to thank you for your feedback, elaborate on ceremony details, and talk about the next steps via this message.

This message covers

  • Keynote speaker selection
  • In-person ceremonies
  • Virtual programming
  • The lead-up to May

Keynote speaker selection

In partnership with the Chancellor, our office is working through the delicate, important process of selecting our keynote speaker for commencement. Once we confirm these details, we will announce to spring graduates the exciting news. More to come soon.

In-person ceremonies

We are thrilled that graduates of the Class of 2021 will have the opportunity to gather safely together in Camp Randall this May to celebrate. Many of you shared your innovative ideas for how to make in-person commencement a reality via our open dropbox and we thank you for that—direct feedback from our class has helped lead the way in our partnership with UW-Madison leadership.

While we have the incredible opportunity to be in-person at Camp Randall this May, things will look different than normal. Due to the ongoing pandemic and COVID-19 guidelines, there will be two ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 — one for undergraduates, the other for all graduate degree candidates. Graduates who choose to attend will need to show their green Badger Badge to enter, will be distanced throughout the stadium, and be required to wear a mask at all times. Unfortunately, these in-person ceremonies will also be limited to graduates only. Read more about virtual programming plans for families, friends, and graduates who cannot attend in-person below.

As exciting as this news is, we understand you likely have questions about how the ceremony will logistically play out. We will be working with the Chancellor’s staff to coordinate what steps you will need to take to confirm your attendance, what time to arrive, seating, and other information in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Virtual programming

We hear and feel the loss of being unable to share this celebration with family, friends, and the entire Badger community in-person. We wish wholeheartedly that those we hold closest could join us in-person as we turn the page on this chapter of our lives; however, due to the requirements of physical distancing, Camp Randall cannot accommodate both graduates and guests.

Moreover, we recognize that some of our fellow graduates may not be able to attend and we are committed to finding meaningful ways for everyone to participate in the ceremony.

Rest assured, both ceremonies will be live-streamed and later offered on-demand so family members, friends, alumni, and graduates who cannot attend in-person can participate in the celebration. In addition, we will be working closely with the Parent and Family Program, the Wisconsin Alumni Association, and other campus organizations to create meaningful opportunities to participate for those who cannot attend in-person.

As we continue to think through ways to engage families, friends, alumni, or graduates who cannot attend in-person, we invite you to submit suggestions or ideas to our dropbox.

The lead-up to May

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot from us; yet, today is a day for excitement and hope. These in-person ceremonies are contingent on the continued success of the Safer Badgers testing program and low case numbers on and off-campus. This means our class will need to continue to test and commit to limiting the spread of COVID-19 throughout the remainder of the semester.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to update you as more details are confirmed. We are excited to continue our fantastic, valued partnership with the Chancellor and her staff as we work to create the best celebration for the Class of 2021.

Until then: continue testing, continue sending in your feedback, stay safe, and keep on.

On, Wisconsin!

Alec Bukowiec, President
Paige Schultz, Vice President
Dalila Ricci, Events Director
Lusayo Mwakatika, Philanthropy Director
Calli Hughes, Communications Director