With vaccines more widely available and restrictions on outdoor gatherings loosening up, some schools are hosting in-person commencement exercises this spring for the classes of 2020 and 2021, while some have planned online-only ceremonies. Others will strive for the best of both worlds in hybrid ceremonies.
Below is a list of some schools and what they plan to do to celebrate their graduates this year.
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Graduates had an in-person commencement on campus May 1 with a livestream available.
Bentley’s in-person commencement was at Fenway Park on May 1 with a livestream for those who could not make it.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell
The Lowell campus will hold its undergraduate commencement exercises at the Tsongas Center May 13 and 14.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst
UMass Amherst will host four in-person ceremonies May 14 at the McGuirk Alumni Stadium with a live stream available for those who cannot attend. Head Coach Greg Carvel from the men’s Division 1 hockey team will address the 2021 graduates. The school will host a ceremony in November for 2020 graduates.
Babson hosted an in-person ceremony for the class of 2021 on May 1, with a digital ceremony set for May 15. Jamie Siminoff, the CEO and founder of Ring will address the graduates. The class of 2020′s in-person ceremony will be on May 8, with a virtual ceremony on the same day. The commencement address for the class of 2020 will be by Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands.
Emerson’s in-person commencement exercises were on May 2 at Fenway Park. The college will also host a virtual celebration on May 9 for graduates who did not attend the in-person ceremony.
Northeastern’s in-person graduation will take place at Fenway Park on May 8 with a livestream to allow family and friends who can’t come due to capacity restrictions. The class of 2021′s commencement will be divided into two time slots to accommodate the number of seniors.
Berklee College of Music
Berklee’s graduation will take place on May 8 as a virtual-only affair.
Regis’ graduates will have their online commencement on May 8, with physician Garth Graham addressing the class.
Seniors will graduate May 15 in an in-person ceremony on Fisher’s campus lawn. Former Lawrence mayor Dan Rivera will give the commencement address.
BU’s graduation will be in person on May 16 at the University’s Nickerson field with a livestream available for those who can’t make it. US Representative Ayanna Pressley will address the graduates.
Notable Quote: “For me, the City of Boston has become my chosen home, my chosen family. I love this city. I love its grit and its drive. I love its skyline and its neighborhoods. I value its constant struggle to own its history — its whole history, fix its eyes on the future and build together. More than anything, I love its people. If America is our great experiment in Democracy, maybe we should call Boston our great experiment in Community.”
— Pressley’s 2019 commencement address to the University of Massachusetts Boston
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI’s commencement will be held on campus over May 20 and 21 with a livestream.
Emmanuel’s commencement will be in person on May 22 on the campus. A livestream will be provided for those who cannot attend.
Suffolk’s commencement will be on May 22 at Fenway Park with a livestream available for those who cannot make it. Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post will address graduates.
Notable Quote: “Facts and truth are matters of life and death. Misinformation, disinformation, delusions, and deceit can kill. Here is what can move us forward: Science and medicine. Study and knowledge. Expertise and reason. In other words, fact and truth.”
— From Baron’s 2020 virtual commencement speech at Harvard University
Massachusetts College of Art and Design will host a virtual commencement on May 22 with Chicago installation artist Theaster Gates scheduled to address the graduates.
Salem State University
Graduates from Salem State will tune into a virtual ceremony on May 22 with author and social justice advocate Monique Morris, who is CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, set to address the graduates.
Lesley graduates can tune in to a digital ceremony on May 22. Two two speakers are scheduled to address the class: Dr. Elizabeth Broun, Smithsonian American Art Museum director emerita and Dr. Laurie R. Santos, Yale University psychology professor and podcaster.
Bay State College
Bay State graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be celebrated in a virtual ceremony on May 22.
New England Conservatory
The New England Conservatory will hold an in-person graduation on May 23 at the school’s Jordan Hall for the graduates only, with a livestream available for family and friends to watch.
Framingham State University
Graduates can tune into a live virtual ceremony on May 23, followed by in-person events from June 2 to 5, when the graduates can take their turns walking across the stage and accepting their diplomas. Each student can have four guests at the in-person events.
Brandeis graduates will tune into a May 23 virtual ceremony during which Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, will address the graduates.
Notable Quote: “I believe that our identity is at risk, that when we actually don’t care about these difficult things, the positive and wonderful things are nonetheless implicated. We love innovation. We love technology. We love creativity. We love entertainment. But ultimately, those realities are shadowed by suffering, abuse, degradation, marginalization.”
— from Stevenson’s “We Need to Talk About an Injustice,” 2012 TED Long Beach California
Tufts will hold a virtual ceremony on May 23. Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, will address the graduates.
Boston College will host its commencement May 24 at Alumni Stadium on its Newton campus with a livestream for those who can’t attend in person. Addressing the class will be New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Notable Quote: “Wise people don’t tell us what to do, they start by witnessing our story. They take the anecdotes, rationalizations and episodes we tell, and see us in a noble struggle. They see our narratives both from the inside, as we experience them, and from the outside, as we can’t. They see the ways we’re navigating the dialectics of life — intimacy versus independence, control versus uncertainty — and understand that our current self is just where we are right now, part of a long continuum of growth.”
— From Brooks’ April column: “Wisdom isn’t what you think it is”
Harvard will host a virtual-only ceremony on May 27, and promises in-person events for the classes of 2020 and 2021 at an unspecified point in the future. Alumna Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and former president of Smith College and Brown University will give the commencement address.
Notable quote: “Those who walk through life with the confidence that they matter have solved for the brainwashing that comes with being “the other.” We are not born with that confidence; we earn it every day that we confront unfairness. Every day that we challenge ourselves to become more self- aware. Every day that we stand up not only for ourselves but for others unjustly stereotyped. Every day that we accept responsibility for supporting women who share our fate. For the bonds among us must be stronger than the differences and disagreements that divide us. Those bonds, if strengthened, will lead to a better world for all of us. And so, let us agree that we will persist as one until ‘victory is won.’ ”
— from Simmon’s “And Still we Must Persist,” 2018 Prairie View AMU’s Women’s History Month keynote address
Simmons graduates can tune in to a virtual ceremony on May 28. US Representative Ayanna Pressley will give the address.
Smith’s commencement will be in person at the Smith campus on May 30. A livestream will be available for those who can’t attend. Native American US poet laureate Joy Harjo will address the graduates
Notable Quote: “My father told me that some voices are so true they can be used as weapons, can maneuver the weather, change time. He said that a voice that powerful can walk away from the singer if it is shamed. After my father left us, I learned that some voices can deceive you. There is a top layer and there is a bottom, and they don’t match.”
— from “Sister Nations, Native American Women Writers on Community”
The Ben Franklin Institute of Technology
Graduates will get a link to an online ceremony around June 1. Later that week, graduates can visit the school in person to pick up their diplomas and tassels before taking photos in their caps and gowns.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT plans to go all virtual for the 2021 commencement season on June 4, promising graduates an in-person celebration in 2022. Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, will address the class in the online ceremony.
Wellesley’s commencement will be a hybrid affair on June 4. In-person seniors will have an on-campus gathering in their honor, while all family members and remote seniors will attend virtually
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Members of the class of 2020 will finally have their in-person commencement exercises on June 11, with the class of 2021 receiving theirs on June 12. A livestream will be available for those who cannot attend.
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State’s graduation will be held over July 29 to 31 at Gillette Stadium, with a livestream available.
The University of Massachusetts Boston
Umass’ Boston campus will host two in-person ceremonies on Aug. 26 at the TD garden. Adrian Walker, a Globe columnist, and Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs for the Commonwealth, will address the classes of 2020 and 2021 in virtual remarks after the ceremony.
Diana Bravo can be reached at email@example.com.