Campus News

In-person UK Commencement Ceremonies Return

photo of December 2019 Commencement with flags on the platform where speakers and deans are sitting and President Capilouto at the podium
December 2019 was UK's last in-person Commencement ceremony held in Rupp Arena. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2021) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto today announced in-person Commencement ceremonies will take place in May — the first time since the 2019 December Commencement.  His email message to the campus community is below.

Dear Campus Community, 

Commencement is a time-honored tradition, an opportunity to celebrate what matters most: the success of our students and those who helped them achieve what’s possible. 

It is a time when we celebrate the stories of our people— stories interwoven with a common thread of uncommon resolve and compassion.  

For the past year, to protect the health and safety of our community, we celebrated while physically distanced. We donned caps and gowns in front of cameras and screens to recognize the May, August and December classes of 2020.  

We are excited to announce that, for May 2021, we plan to hold UK’s Commencement Ceremonies in person, at Rupp Arena, over the weekend of Friday May 14- Sunday, May 16. In the interest of health and safety, several ceremonies will take place over the course of these three days. We will communicate more specifics about exact times in the coming weeks.  

May, August and December 2020 graduates are invited to participate along with May 2021 graduates. All 2020 graduates and May 2021 graduates will receive an email this week with details on registration. Final dates and times for the various ceremonies will be announced after registration closes and posted on the UK Commencement website.  

Some initial information: 

Health and safety protocols, including mask requirements and physical distancing, will be enforced at the ceremony, and seating will be limited.  

To that end, each graduate will be allowed a maximum of four guests.   

Ticketing information will be communicated once final ceremony dates and times are announced.  

In addition to in-person ceremonies, a virtual component will be available for all students. Each graduate may upload a photo and personal message to be displayed on a slide with their name, primary college and degree earned read out loud by a pre-recorded orator.  

The in-person ceremonies will be live-streamed for any guests who cannot attend and will be posted to the Commencement website to allow any student who cannot attend the opportunity to participate virtually. 

We will follow up during the first week of April (after registration closes) with more information about the specifics of these ceremonies. We also will communicate more about other campus groups (such as faculty and staff) who traditionally have attended Commencement ceremonies in the past. 

We continue to navigate difficult days as we do everything we can to keep our community healthy and safe. In large part, an in-person commencement is possible because of you – your efforts to keep yourselves, your friends and your community safe and healthy.    Thank you for all you have done to make this important moment possible. We can’t wait to celebrate your achievements as members of this community. 

Eli Capilouto  

President