Campus News

Watch Online Recording of UK's In-person Commencement Celebrating May 2021, 2020 Graduates

Video by UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications and Marketing and Brand Strategy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2021) —This past weekend, the University of Kentucky celebrated May 2021 and 2020 graduates at Commencement Ceremonies at Rupp Arena. Nearly 4,400 graduates participated in 10 ceremonies held Friday-Sunday, and more than 37,000 people viewed the livestreamed events. Recordings of those ceremonies are accessible at the links below.

Around 1,000 of the Commencement participants were 2020 graduates who were invited to take part in the 2021 ceremony after not having an in-person ceremony last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each graduate in attendance had the opportunity to invite four guests to their ceremony. Guests unable to be in attendance were able to view the ceremonies livestreams. 

“Together, we did something that has never been done before and will be part of history one day,” said Ashley Reed, director of University Events and chair of the UK Commencement Committee. “These events could not have happened without the efforts and contributions of so many people, and it meant the world to our students and families.”

Overall, 5,173  May 2021 degree candidates were conferred for approval by the UK Board of Trustees. This includes 3,599 undergraduate, 1,085 graduate and 489 professional degree candidates*

Five student representatives, selected by UK President Eli Capilouto, virtually presented addresses to the audience. Given limitations on the number of people allowed on the stage, the speeches were pre-recorded. Read more about the student speakers here.

View all of the ceremonies from the Spring 2021 Commencement:

Friday, May 14:

  • 9 a.m. - College of Education, College of Medicine (begins at 28:06 mark) 
  • Noon - College of Fine Arts, College of Public Health, College of Social Work, College of Pharmacy (begins at 3:27:14 mark) 
  • 3 p.m. - College of Nursing College of Health Sciences, College of Design (begins at 6:24:16 mark)
  • 6 p.m. - College of Engineering (begins at the 9:27:49 mark)

Saturday, May 15:

  • 9 a.m. - College of Arts and Sciences #1 (begins at the 9:40 mark) 

*Humanities: African American and Africana Studies, English, Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Languages, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Philosophy, Spanish / Hispanic Studies, Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Media, Foreign Language and International Economics, Classics, German, French, Teaching English as a Second Language, Linguistic Theory and Typology, Teaching World Languages, Creative Writing

*Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Earth and Environmental Studies, Geological Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Economics, Neuroscience, Statistics, Applied Statistics 

  • Noon - College of Arts and Sciences #2 (begins at the 3:08:12 mark)

*Social Sciences: Anthropology, Economics, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Geography, Health, Society and Populations, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, US Culture and Business Practices, Liberal Studies, Applied Anthropology, Digital Mapping 

  • 3 p.m. - Gatton College of Business and Economics #1 (begins at the 6:10:53 mark)

*Marketing, Management, General Business, Supply Chain Management 

  • 6 p.m. - Gatton College of Business and Economics #2 (begins at the 9:10:27 mark)

*Accounting, Economics, Finance, Business Administration (Masters & Ph.D.)

Sunday, May 16:

  • 9 a.m. - College of Communication and Information; The Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce (begins at the 26:18 mark)
  • Noon - College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (begins at the 3:23:42 mark)

*These numbers reflect degree candidates, not individual graduates (some graduates earn more than one degree, thereby being counted as a degree candidate multiple times). Degrees will be certified by the UK registrar, ensuring individuals have satisfactorily completed all requirements. The most up-to-date information is available through UK and Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support.

Two UK graduates in caps and gowns with confetti
Graduate smiles with arms up in the air while walking across stage
Graduate smiles on stage with diploma cover in hand
Crowd of graduates seated in caps and gowns on floor of Rupp Arena

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.