Commencement 2021 FAQ

Can’t find the answer to your question?

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please call 920-748-8351 or email [email protected]. Please keep in mind that scheduling has not been finalized, but will be announced when available.

In order to keep everyone informed, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding Commencement 2021.

Please read through the FAQs before contacting the College, as they will provide a more timely/immediate answer. You can start by choosing a question from one of the sections below, or by skipping down to view all questions.

General Commencement Questions

List of FAQs

What are the COVID-19 safety procedures for Commencement?

All guests will be asked to comply with the College’s safety guidelines when on campus the weekend of May 14-16, 2021. Please note, having had a vaccination doesn’t mean you do not have to comply with the following rules:

  • Masks are required on campus, even when outdoors or seated in Commencement pod while physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing guidelines will be enforced, and guests are asked to remain in their assigned Commencement seats (except to use the restroom facilities nearest their seat)
  • All ceremony guests must be ticketed and check in at the appropriate location on Sunday, May 16. All non-ticketed guests will be asked to leave the Commencement site and view the livestream at a different location.  

By being a registered guest of Commencement 2021, you agree to follow all College policies and guidelines for COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Will there be other events scheduled on campus during the commencement weekend?

The only College sponsored event to be held for Commencement 2021 will be the Ceremony on Sunday, May 16 at 1 pm. No other events or gatherings can be held on College grounds.

How many guests will be allowed at the 2021 ceremony per graduate?

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic, all graduates are only allowed two ticketed guests for the Ceremony on May 16. Unfortunately, we cannot allow any additional guests or the transfer of unused tickets. The ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook for others to view safely. You must register yourself and your guest(s).

How do I get my cap and gown?

Caps and gowns are provided by the College to graduates free of charge, but must be ordered in advance through the Office of Constituent Engagement.

If the Ceremony is held outside, do I need to wear a mask?

Masking and physical distancing will be required and strictly enforced at all times regardless of an outdoor or indoor event.

Will there be a live-streamed ceremony? What will be included?

Yes. As we have done in years past, the Commencement ceremony will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person. The broadcast will include the entirety of the ceremony. Please watch future communications regarding commencement for information on the exact platform and format of the live broadcast.

When will we receive official invitations and be able to register for Commencement events?

As details are finalized, updates will be posted to By the spring, the Office of Constituent Engagement will send invitations and begin accepting online registrations.

I need an official transcript for my job/graduate school, how do I get one?

The Office of the Registrar will send a complimentary official transcript, with the degree posted, to all 2021 graduates, most likely in the first part of June. After that, additional transcripts are available by request from the Office of the Registrar. More information is available at:

Where can I stay and eat in the Ripon area?

Click here for a list of lodging and dining options in the area.

Do I need a ticket to attend the Commencement ceremony?

Typically, there are no tickets for the Commencement ceremony. However, because of continued caution related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the status of public health across the country, each graduate will only be allowed two ticketed guests. In early April, graduates will be asked to register their guests.

Where is the Commencement rain location?

Sunday’s 1 p.m. ceremony is traditionally on the lawn of Harwood Memorial Union, but should there be inclement weather, the ceremony then will be moved inside the field house in Willmore Center, located at 400 Union Street. The weather call will be made by noon Saturday, May 15. All ticketing and COVID-19 requirements will remain the same. Further updates on the day will be found on our Facebook page. In Wisconsin, May weather can be balmy or downright frigid. More often than not, it is both on the same day. Please be prepared for changes in temperature by dressing in layers.

Where can I park?

Free parking is available on the streets surrounding the Union; however, spots will fill fast and early. Click to view our Campus Map. Off-street parking, denoted on the map by a P, is available in lots behind Smith Hall, on Thorne Street, at the corner of Seward Street and Woodside Avenue and off Ransom Street across from East Hall. Accessible parking, denoted on the map with an H, is available near the Union, outside Pickard Commons and at Evans Admission Center. Accessible parking also will be marked on Seward Street. If the ceremony is held outside or under a tent, free parking is available.

Is accessible seating and parking available?

Accessible seating and parking is available for the Commencement ceremony. Please ask an usher if you need special assistance. Individuals requiring special assistance should call the Office of Constituent Engagement at 920-748-8126 to ensure appropriate accommodations by May 1.

What’s the policy on honor cords?

In past years, the College prohibited the wearing of any cords or stoles other than College honor cords and Phi Beta Kappa stoles. All departmental honor cords, Greek stoles and other accouterments (within reason) are now allowed during the ceremony. Those items, however, will not be provided by the College or listed in the program.

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