Spring 2021 Commencement
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Graduating students, along with two guests each, are invited to attend
Spring 2021 Commencement
in person at the Behrend Soccer Stadium
Saturday, May 8, 2021
10:00 a.m., Black School of Business and School of Science
3:00 p.m., School of Engineering and School of Humanities and Social Sciences
- The ceremonies will be held outdoors, rain or shine.
- Graduates and guests must have tickets to enter the stadium.
- Information on registration and ticketing will be emailed to graduating students from [email protected].
- Graduates must attend the ceremony designated for their academic school.
- All health guidelines, including masking and social distancing, will be enforced at the in-person ceremonies.
- In addition to the in-person ceremonies, Penn State will hold a University-wide virtual commencement on Sunday, May 9, at 6:00 p.m. at virtual.commencement.psu.edu.
Frequently Asked Questions
- COVID Safety
- Information for Graduates
- Attending the Ceremony
- Virtual Options
- Other Commencement Info
- Information for Faculty and Staff
If you have additional questions not answered here, email [email protected].
Will masks and physical distancing be required at commencement?
Yes. For the health and safety of students, their families, and the campus community, all health guidelines, including masking and social distancing, will be followed at both in-person events.
I've been vaccinated. Do I still need to wear a mask?
Yes. All of those in attendance must wear a mask to attend the in-person commencement ceremonies. Because new CDC guidance calls for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to continue to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, masking will remain required at the in-person commencement ceremonies.
What if I or my guests don't feel comfortable participating in an in-person commencement?
Penn State understands that some graduates or guests might be unable or unwilling to attend the in-person events. Virtual options will be available to celebrate commencement.
Information for Graduates
Do graduating students have to register to attend the in-person commencement?
Yes. No graduate will be permitted to participate in the commencement ceremony unless they have registered in advance and have a ticket on the day of the event. Tickets may be either printed or displayed on a mobile device. Graduating students who have successfully registered will receive their ticket and tickets for their guests by email from [email protected]. Graduates who have lost that email can log into the MarchingOrder system with their Penn State email address to access their information and print or email their tickets.
Can guests attend the in-person commencement?
Yes. Each graduating student may bring two guests. Any guests must be registered in advance and have a ticket for admittance. Graduating students are responsible for registering their guests for tickets and sending those tickets to the guests. Tickets may be either printed or displayed on a mobile device.
How can I get more guest tickets?
In order to adhere to federal and state social distancing guidelines, each registered graduating student is only permitted a limited number of guest tickets. A livestream of each ceremony will be available for guests who are not able to attend in person.
How do I know which ceremony to attend?
Students and their guests will attend ceremonies based on their academic school:
- Black School of Business, 10:00 a.m.: associate degree in General Business; bachelor's degrees in Accounting, Business Economics, Economics, Finance, Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies; International Business; Management Information Systems, Marketing, and Project and Supply Chain Management; and master's degrees in Business Administration and Professional Accounting.
- School of Science, 10:00 a.m.: bachelor's degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Nursing, Physics, and Secondary Education.
- School of Engineering, 3:00 p.m.: associate degrees in Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology; and bachelor's degrees in Computer Engineering. Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Plastics Engineering Technology, and Software Engineering.
- School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3:00 p.m.: associate degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences; bachelor's degrees in Arts Administration, Communication and Media Studies, Creative Writing, Digital Media, Arts, and Technology, Elementary and Early Childhood Education, English, General Arts and Sciences, History, Political Science, and Psychology; and master's degree in Applied Clinical Psychology.
How can graduating students get their caps and gowns?
Undergraduate students should purchase their caps and gowns through the Behrend Bookstore, either by stopping by the Reed Union Center in person or by calling 814-898-6236. The cost is $50 plus tax. Graduate students should order their caps, gowns, and hoods online. The cost is $90 plus tax. Orders may take up to five weeks to arrive, so graduates should place their orders as soon as possible. Additional graduation items, including announcements and rings, should be ordered through Jostens.com.
How can graduates get professional photos?
Penn State Behrend has arranged for a professional photographer from Lifetouch to be available for graduate photos on the day of commencement in the Smith Chapel from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Photos will be made available on the Lifetouch website, keyword Penn State Erie. A proof with ordering information will also be sent to each graduate's home address.
Attending the Ceremony
What should I know about the ceremony location?
The Soccer Stadium is an open-air venue located on the Behrend campus near the Junker Center. All seating will be on the field, and all attendees must have a ticket (either printed out or displayed on a mobile device) in order to be admitted. No concessions will be available, and only water bottles may be brought onto the field. Because the ceremonies will be held rain or shine, graduates and guests are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather: Bring umbrellas, ponchos or seat covers as needed. Wear comfortable shoes to walk to the stadium. To protect the field's turf, high-heeled shoes are not permitted.
What happens if there is bad weather?
The ceremonies will be held rain or shine, and will only be canceled because of dangerous weather—thunder and lightning, high wind, or heavy rain. In that event, graduates and faculty and staff will be notified by text alert and email, and that information will be posted on this page.
How does ticketing work?
Each graduate's ticket, as well as each guest ticket, contains a unique code that will be scanned at each entrance (Junker Center for graduates and the Soccer Stadium for guests). Tickets, which are emailed to the graduate who registered for them, may be presented for scanning on a printed paper or on a mobile device. Once a ticket is scanned, it cannot be used again.
Where should graduates check in on the day of commencement?
Graduates should arrive at Junker Center, using the Lion Shrine entrance, a half-hour to an hour before their ceremony (9:00-9:30 a.m. for the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, and 2:00-2:30 p.m. for the 3:00 p.m. ceremony). Graduates must have a ticket to enter Junker Center.
Where should guests go on the day of commencement?
Guest will be directed to enter the Soccer Stadium using the north entrance. Doors will open one hour before each ceremony. Seating is first come, first served. Guests must have a ticket to enter the Stadium.
Where should I park?
The closest parking lot to the Soccer Stadium is the Junker Lot, which has limited parking spots. Other campus parking options include the Jordan Road Lot and the Burke Parking Deck. Parking passes are not required on the day of commencement. No shuttle service will be available.
Will the Behrend Bookstore be open the day of the ceremony?
Yes, the Bookstore, located in Reed Union Building, will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.
Will the in-person ceremonies be livestreamed?
Yes. To allow additional friends and family members an opportunity to view the in-person commencement, the Behrend ceremonies will be livestreamed.
Will there be a virtual ceremony for graduates and guests who are not able to attend or prefer to participate online?
Yes. Penn State is planning a University-wide virtual ceremony for all students that will be livestreamed Sunday, May 9, at 6:00 p.m. at virtual.commencement.psu.edu. This ceremony is separate from Behrend's in-person ceremonies on Saturday, May 8. The virtual ceremony will celebrate all Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, including those also attending an in-person ceremony, and will include content unique to Behrend. The virtual ceremony will include a personalized digital slide for each graduate that includes the student’s name, degree, and major.
Other Commencement Info
What about Spring 2020 graduates who are still waiting for an in-person celebration?
Virtual ceremonies served as just a first step in recognizing the achievements of the Class of 2020 during the global pandemic. The college continues to explore opportunities for welcoming 2020 graduates back to campus as restrictions for doing so begin to ease.
How can I get a graduate a special gift to mark commencement?
Inscribed pavers at the Mary Behrend Monument Walk can recognize your graduate with a personal, lasting presence on campus. The monument and walk, which honor Mary Behrend and the donation of her family's estate to Penn State, are located next to the college's Studio Theatre, which was once her painting studio.
Information for Faculty and Staff
Do faculty and staff have to register to participate in commencement?
Yes. No one will be permitted to participate in either commencement ceremony unless they have registered in advance and have a ticket (either printed or displayed on a mobile device) on the day of the event. Faculty and staff will receive an email requesting that you RSVP and confirm if you are attending one or both ceremonies. You will need to RSVP by Wednesday, April 28.
How will faculty and staff get their tickets?
Faculty and staff will receive an email with ticketing information for each ceremony they will be attending. Faculty and staff must have a ticket for each ceremony they plan to attend, and should present the ticket for scanning when entering the assembly area.
Where should faculty and staff assemble on the day of commencement?
Faculty and staff who will be participating in the commencement processional should assemble in the tent in the grassy area south of the main gate of the Soccer Stadium, in full academic regalia. Important: There will not be any place to store personal belongings, so faculty and staff should arrive at the Soccer Stadium already dressed and only with items they will carry onto the field. Umbrellas may be carried onto the field.
When should faculty and staff arrive?
All ceremony participants should arrive and check in at least a half-hour before the ceremony begins (9:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 2:30 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony).
Where should faculty and staff park?
Faculty and staff attending commencement should park in the ramp adjacent to Burke Center. Burke will be open for you to walk through en route to the Soccer Stadium.
Can faculty and staff participate in both ceremonies?
Yes. We would like to provide a similar experience for graduates in both ceremonies, so we are encouraging faculty and staff to attend both if possible.
Can faculty and staff congratulate graduates as they come off the stage?
Unfortunately, no. In order to maintain social distancing and remain in compliance with health guidelines, faculty and staff and guests must remain in their seats throughout the ceremony. They can, however, stand and clap to express congratulations as graduates exit the stage.
If faculty and staff are attending both ceremonies, can they stay on campus between them?
Faculty and staff can remain on campus but cannot stay at the Soccer Stadium or Junker Center between ceremonies.
Information for Candidates for Graduation
It is your responsibility to notify the University of your intent to graduate (See Policy 86-00). You must declare your intent to graduate by using the "Applying for Graduation" application on LionPATH. The Intent to Graduate Activation Period is listed on the Academic Calendar for each semester. If you miss the activation deadline for your intended semester of graduation, you must contact the Behrend Registrar's Office.
Each ceremony will follow state and federal guidelines for gatherings. All students, guests, and employees are required to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing from others to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Penn State staff will be on site to answer questions and provide guidance; please follow their instructions about health and safety protocols. All guests who will be attending a commencement ceremony are expected to take health and safety precautions when traveling and during commencement weekend. In addition, please do not attend an in-person ceremony if within the last 14 days you think you have been exposed, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results or have tested positive for COVID-19.