Elon announces details for in-person Commencement 2021

Elon will celebrate 2021 graduates with three in-person undergraduate ceremonies.

Elon University has announced further details about in-person 2021 Undergraduate Commencement, with three ceremonies scheduled for Friday, May 21 in Schar Center. The university will host these celebrations on campus, honoring graduates while also protecting the health of all in attendance and complying with local and state guidelines.

Schar Center, Elon’s largest venue, will protect attendees from severe weather and heat, allow for physical distancing and will be disinfected between ceremonies. All graduates will have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas from President Connie Ledoux Book.

In light of COVID-19 health regulations, graduates will be allotted two guest tickets, allowing the university to comply with state and local limits on crowd sizes. Elon will also provide remote viewing options (see below) for all ceremonies, so family members and friends can participate on or off campus through an online broadcast at www.elon.edu/live.

Vaccination Status and Wearing of Masks

All graduates and guests are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to attending Commencement ceremonies. This will provide the greatest degree of protection for everyone. Graduates should upload their vaccination verification record here.

Students who have not received vaccines by that time will be required to continue weekly testing, and all guests are strongly encouraged to be tested before coming to campus.

Wearing masks and practicing physical distancing will be required at all Commencement Week events. There will be no exceptions to the mask policy, including in outdoor venues.

Details on Three Individual Ceremonies

Graduates and their guests will be assigned to attend one of the three ceremonies in Schar Center as follows. Ceremonies will run approximately 90 minutes.

9 a.m. Ceremony

  • Graduates of the Love School of Business

Doors will open at 8:15 a.m.

1 p.m. Ceremony

  • Graduates of Elon College, The College of Arts & Sciences, with degrees in:
    • Arts & Humanities
  • Graduates of the School of Communications
  • Graduates of the School of Education

Doors will open at 12:15 p.m.

5 p.m. Ceremony

  • Graduates of Elon College, The College of Arts & Sciences, with degrees in:
    • Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Natural and Social Sciences

Doors will open at 4:15 p.m.

Graduates and families may verify primary major and corresponding ceremony time by referring to the Graduation Candidates List. Graduates with multiple majors are assigned to the ceremony corresponding to their primary major. Students must attend the ceremony to which they are assigned in order to receive their diploma.

Graduates will be notified in May about the schedule for check-in at Schar Center and other details about the ceremony.

Caps and Gowns

Graduating seniors may pick up their cap and gown at the College Street Taphouse (131 West College Avenue) on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, April 20-22, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Bring your Phoenix card. Masks and physical distancing are required.

NOTE: Those who are enrolled remotely this semester or who completed their studies earlier this year (and are no longer on campus) may contact the university bookstore, Barnes & Noble at Elon. A request form is available here.

Ticket Distribution

Class of 2021 graduates participating in Commencement will receive two (2) guest tickets for seats assigned in pairs. Tickets will be coded for individual ceremonies and may not be used for other ceremonies.

Tickets will be distributed at the Schar Center Box Office (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) beginning the week of May 3. Graduates must bring their Phoenix Card and may only pick up their own guest tickets. Each graduate is responsible for picking up their tickets and ensuring that the tickets are in the possession of guests who will attend the ceremony.

NOTE: Graduates who are enrolled remotely this semester or who completed their studies earlier this year should email commencement@elon.edu to request assistance in obtaining guest tickets.

Remote Viewing Options

Those without guest tickets may watch the ceremonies online (on or off campus) at www.elon.edu/live or may gather, wearing a mask and physically distanced in the following locations:

  • Great Hall in the Global Neighborhood Commons
  • Alumni Gymnasium in Koury Athletics Center.


Graduates will receive their oak saplings at the conclusion of each ceremony.

Chef-Crafted Picnic Orders

Elon Dining chefs have prepared an inspired menu to help families celebrate Commencement day. Picnic orders start with a selection of handmade charcuterie baskets crafted with locally sourced artisan goods and can be tailored with fresh bagel baskets, gourmet sandwiches, and celebratory beverages. Call Elon Dining at (336) 278-5333 to place an order. Information will be posted on the Commencement website.

Faculty Seating

Each ceremony will include representatives from faculty and staff with faculty rank. Deans will coordinate faculty attendance and participation in the coming weeks.

Other Senior Week Activities

In consultation with the senior class officers and the Alumni Engagement Office, Elon is also planning the following modified commemorations and activities for Senior Week.

  • Senior College Coffee, Wednesday, May 19, 9:40-10:40 a.m., hosted by Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, The Love School of Business, the School of Communications, and the School of Education in multiple locations.
    • Graduates will gather with faculty, staff, and peers for coffee, conversation, and refreshments
  • Baccalaureate, Wednesday, May 19, at 11:30 a.m. in Alumni Gym (streamed at www.elon.edu/live).
    • An interfaith celebration designed to help graduates make meaning of their time at Elon
    • Seating will be limited to 325 graduates (no guests, staff, or faculty). Six hundred copies of the book, “See No Stranger,” by Baccalaureate speaker, filmmaker, educator, activist, and interfaith leader, Valarie Kaur, will be available in the Koury Concourse.
  • Senior Celebration, Wednesday, May 19, 5:00-9:00 p.m. inside Rhodes Stadium
    • Graduates are invited for a festive evening of free food, live music, and fireworks
  • Donning of the Kente, Thursday, May 20, at 6 p.m. in Alumni Gym (ticketed and streamed at www.elon.edu/live).
    • A rich cultural ceremony involving Kente cloth stoles imported from West Africa and celebrating the achievements of students who recognize their African roots

Please find additional details about this year’s Commencement Week schedule and events at: www.elon.edu/commencement.

Graduate Commencement schedule

Elon will celebrate the Master of Business Administration, Accounting, and Management; Master of Arts in Higher Education; and the Interactive Media Master’s Program ceremonies on Tuesday, May 18 in Alumni Gym. Graduate students will learn about guest tickets for family and friends and virtual broadcasts from their program directors. Ceremonies will be held as follows:

  • MHE Commencement: Tuesday, May 18 at 1 p.m. in Alumni Gym
  • Master of Arts in Interactive Media Commencement: Tuesday, May 18 at 4 p.m. in Alumni Gym
  • MBA, MSA, MSBA and MScM Commencement: Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym

Making Plans, But Staying Flexible

The arrangements detailed in this message reflect our best thinking with the information we currently have available. We ask your understanding and willingness to adapt if we are forced to adjust plans in the weeks ahead. Plans could change, depending on health conditions and public regulations.