Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13
In-person celebration and a virtual ceremony!
The in-person Commencement celebration will be a “drive-through” ceremony. Graduates, and their loved ones, will decorate their car and celebrate together as they drive through a route dedicated to celebration. At the end of the drive, the graduate will walk across a stage and receive the diploma cover. A professional photographer will take photos and family/friends can exit the vehicle to take their own pictures. Once the grad and their entourage are back in their car, the next grad will have their turn on stage.
Decorate your ride
Hear your name be read and
cheering faculty & staff
A professional photographer will
take photos and family/friends
You will register separately for each.
There will be a firm deadline of May 4 to RSVP
Dear 2021 grads,
We appreciate your patience as we’ve worked hard to make plans for our Commencement celebration in June. Thank you to all 2021 grads who responded to our survey about Commencement. From the survey results, it was very clear that an overwhelming majority of grads want three things from the Commencement celebration: 1) the opportunity for loved ones to be involved, 2) walking across a stage, and 3) having your name read.
After significant deliberation, listening to your survey feedback, and considering current pandemic conditions and projections for June, we have decided to have both an in-person celebration and a virtual ceremony.
The in-person Commencement celebration will have a “drive-through” component that ends with grads (and their loved ones in a car with them) going across a stage. The grad’s name will be read and a professional photographer will take photos. Once the grad and their family are back in their car, the next grad will have their turn on stage.
These celebrations will take place on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, and RSVPs will be required to participate. Once we know how many grads will attend, we will schedule time slots for each grad. We expect to group students in time slots by major so you will be graduating with the students in your program. This will also help faculty to be there to celebrate you.
With most classes being remote, we realize not all grads are near campus. In addition to the in-person celebration, we will have a virtual Commencement ceremony where all grads’ names will be read. The date and time will be announced soon.
We understand you may be disappointed that our 2021 Commencement won’t be the large, in-person event we look forward to each year. We wish we could offer that this year, but social distancing is still important for preventing further COVID-19 spread.
Please watch your inbox for information about how to RSVP for the “drive-through” and the virtual Commencement. You will register separately for each. There will be a firm deadline of May 4 to RSVP.
We expect you have some questions about Commencement. Please visit our FAQ at wou.edu/commencement for additional information and possible answers to your questions. If you have a question not addressed there, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future pandemic conditions will unfold in ways we cannot predict. The Western Oregon University Commencement Committee is monitoring the situation and modeling potential plans for delivering the 164th Commencement within the requirements we are given by Oregon Health Authority and Governor Kate Brown.
We continue to monitor and plan as the internal and external factors unfold and shape our options for balancing the health and safety of our community with this important celebration. Governor Brown has established three distinct phases. Polk county is currently in Phase 2. Our phase and physical space constraints will frame our decisions. Given the current spike in cases and the challenges associated with mass production and distribution of a vaccine, we are currently operating under the assumption that we will still be in Phase 2 at the time that we must decide how to proceed.
To inform that decision, graduates will be engaged and kept informed throughout the process. The committee has established the following schedule.
This site will be updated regularly as information is received and decisions are made.
We are acutely aware that this pandemic is the cause of much pain and great disappointment for many. We know the last year of your degree may not be how you envisioned. An important rite of passage during your final year is Commencement, and we want to honor that by celebrating graduates in meaningful ways.
The Commencement Committee and the university community as a whole wish to extend our sincerest gratitude to graduates for participating in the student survey. Survey results may be viewed or downloaded here for your review. The information provided is being incorporated into the planning process. The plan will be announced on March 29th.