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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, this guidance makes 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. 

ScheduleStudentsFamilies & Guests#wmGrad

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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.
  • All ceremonies will take place in Zable Stadium (rain or shine)
  • In case of thunder/lightning, students will graduate in Kaplan Arena, but families will need to watch virtually due to mandated occupancy restrictions indoors.
  • 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.
  • Each student will have their name read while crossing the stage and receive an imitation diploma
  • All ceremonies will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person.
Mask Requirements

In response to updated public health guidance and continuing increases in vaccination in our area and at the university, William & Mary is updating our masking policies as of May 18.

  • Students and guests must wear a face covering while in any shared indoor space, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Outdoor Commencement ceremonies will not require masks, but we will continue to observe the six-foot minimum distancing built into initial plans to protect those not yet vaccinated. Individuals not yet vaccinated are advised to wear masks and observe physical distancing guidelines.
  • W&M is not prohibiting masks nor distancing and will support you if you choose to continue to do so for your own comfort or for the protection of those who are unable to be vaccinated.
Departmental Celebrations

Many academic departments will offer virtual opportunities for celebration on Friday, May 21. 

Find your school or department celebration

Cultural/Identity Celebrations

Certain groups will hold virtual celebrations to recognize graduating students. Virtual celebrations are scheduled for Thursday, May 20, 2021.

If you are interested in participating and/or receiving a stole for Lavender Graduation, Ceremonia Raíces: LatinX Commencement Ceremony, Asian Pacific Middle Eastern Commencement Ceremony, and/or Donning of the Kente ceremony, please register by 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, May 2. These events are open to all graduates from all schools, regardless of degree. 

Find the virtual cultural/identity celebrations

Graduation Event Traditions
Bell Ringing

Graduating students partake in the beloved tradition of ringing the Wren Bell to mark the end of classes.

Candlelight Ceremony

This year's Candlelight Ceremony will take place in Zable Stadium*. The senior class has selected one student, one staff member, one administrator, and a 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).

*Due to disinfecting requirements and preparing for Saturday morning’s ceremony, only graduating students (dressed in regalia) will be permitted into Zable Stadium for Friday night’s Candlelight Ceremony (May 21, 9:30 p.m. ET). Guests will be able to view the ceremony via livestream.

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. If students would like to participate in the Walk Across Campus, they should gather at the back of the Wren Building (Sunken Garden side) 75 minutes before their ceremony. The walk will cross the Crim Dell bridge and end at the Sadler Center Terrace (line-up location).


We are pleased to offer live audio and video streaming of the Commencement ceremonies for anyone that cannot attend in person.

Need information or have questions?
Commencement Schedule and General Information

Office of Student Affairs
[[commencement, Commencement Planning Team]]

Graduation/Academic Requirements/Diplomas

University Registrar's Office
[[wendy.urbano, Wendy Urbano]]

Regalia and General Graduation Merchandise

W&M Bookstore