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Class of 2021

May 21-23, 2021

William & Mary received updated guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia that is informing our decision-making for Commencement Weekend on May 21-23, 2021. Importantly, the new guidance will make it possible for a limited number of family members/guests to attend a graduation ceremony on campus.

The Commencement Committee is working to craft the best possible experience for you and your guests, including holding your graduation ceremony in Zable Stadium. There will continue to be a virtual option for those who cannot be on campus in person. All of our decisions remain contingent on the latest data regarding COVID-19 and the evolving health and safety guidance we receive from the commonwealth. 

current Schedule of Eventslatest Update messages 

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Main Ceremonies

We are planning six (6) ceremonies over three (3) days to ensure that every graduate who wishes can have their name read as they cross the stage. 

Ceremonies will be divided by major/school. Multiple majors/schools will share the same ceremony. See the current schedule of events.

  • Approximately 400 students will attend each ceremony
  • Each graduating student may invite up to four (4) guests to their ceremony.
  • Students may register for tickets beginning April 1. You will receive an email with instructions.
  • Students who wish to participate remotely should also register so their names may be read at their major/school ceremony.
  • All ceremonies will take place in Zable Stadium (rain or shine)
  • A traditional Walk Across Campus will precede each of the ceremonies, with degree candidates processing from the Wren Building to Zable Stadium for their graduation.
  • In case of thunder/lightning, students will graduate in Kaplan Arena, but families will need to watch virtually due to mandated occupancy restrictions indoors.
  • Each student will have their name read while crossing the stage and receive a "dummy" diploma
  • All ceremonies will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person.
  • Departmental and cultural/affinity group ceremonies will take place virtually. More information to come.
Departmental and Affinity Group Celebrations

Many schools, departments and affinity groups will hold virtual celebrations to recognize graduating students. Virtual celebrations are scheduled for Thursday, May 20 (affinity groups) and Friday, May 21, 2021 (academic departments).

Graduation Event Traditions
Bell Ringing

Graduating students partake in the beloved tradition of ringing the Wren Bell. Stay tuned for information about signing up for a time slot to ring the bell!

Candlelight Ceremony

This year's Candlelight Ceremony will be different from previous years, but we are determined to make this important tradition a reality. The senior class selects one student, one administrator, and one member of the faculty to give brief remarks to the graduating class. The ceremony provides an opportunity for the senior class to celebrate and reflect on their time at the university. Graduating students wear cap and gown (tassel positioned on right side of mortar board).

Walk Across Campus

A Walk Across Campus will precede each of the ceremonies, with degree candidates walking from the Wren Building to Zable Stadium for their graduation. We will communicate more details in the coming weeks.

Stay Up to Date

Want to stay up to date or know when we call rain plans? 

Student Speaker Competition

Do you have something to say? Each year a graduating student is selected to deliver an address at the university-wide Commencement ceremony. Any undergraduate and graduate student participating in the May ceremony is eligible to apply for this honor. The only stipulation is that the topic must be a theme to which any graduate could relate. 

 How to Apply
  • Submit your application no later than Sunday, February 28 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Please email [[studentaffairs]] or call 757-221-1236 if you have any questions.

We are pleased to offer live audio and video streaming of the Commencement ceremonies for anyone that cannot attend. The broadcast will be available here on the website. 

Need information or have questions?

Degree Requirements and Diploma Questions:
[[wdurba,Wendy Urbano]], Office of the Registrar, 757-221-2807

Commencement General Information:

Academic Regalia and Merchandise Questions:
[[wmcloth,William & Mary Bookstore]], 757-221-1669