A close-up of a Grand Valley State University diploma.

Virtual and in-person celebrations planned for GVSU's class of 2021

Grand Valley’s 2021 graduates have two ways to celebrate this year: A virtual commencement along with an in-person opportunity the next day to cross a stage and have their picture taken.

The virtual commencement ceremony will be held Friday, April 30 at 7 p.m. An in-person Laker Graduation Celebration is planned for Saturday, May 1, in the Fieldhouse Arena on the Allendale Campus.

During the April 30 virtual ceremony, President Philomena V. Mantella and Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, will confer the degrees and lead students in turning their tassels. The academic deans will welcome each individual college and the names of graduates will be displayed. 

“Our graduates have exemplified hard work and persevered through current challenges,” said Mantella. “Although we would have loved to offer the full tradition of commencement, we are grateful that this year we have the opportunity to preserve the time-honored commencement tradition of graduates crossing the stage in front of their supporters, in-person and virtually.”

For the May 1 in-person celebration, graduates will be assigned a time slot during which they can walk through the arena and cross the stage and have their photo taken. Each graduate will be allowed to have four guests attend in-person. The ceremony will be livestreamed so others can join remotely.

“The ceremony is the culmination of the students’ educational experience and a testament to their curiosity and hard work for which they should take enormous pride,” said Cimitile. 

To be invited to participate in the Laker Graduation Celebration, students must apply for graduation by March 26. More than 3,000 students are eligible to graduate. 

Regalia is available for purchase, but not required for either event. Diplomas will be mailed to graduates within six weeks of final grades being posted.

Current plans assume the GVSU Alert Level remains at Level 2. GVSU will monitor COVID-19 guidance from the CDC, State of Michigan and local public health officials. Plans will be adjusted as needed to address new orders, guidance and data.

For more information about commencement, visit gvsu.edu/commencement.


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