Graduates in the University of Michigan Class of 2021 are invited to experience the May 1 virtual Spring Commencement ceremony from the stands of Michigan Stadium, university leaders announced March 25.

The university is offering the May 1 experience as an option for graduates who want to “celebrate their accomplishments together,” said President Mark Schlissel, adding that the event is now possible due to updated state guidelines and fewer COVID-19 cases among students. Attendance is limited to graduates.

A recently announced Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order allows outdoor venues like Michigan Stadium to operate at up to 20 percent capacity. Meanwhile, student case counts remain low, with only 69 new positive COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days, representing about 9 percent of cases in Washtenaw County. University health officials will continue to monitor campus cases closely.

The commencement ceremony will continue in a virtual format, as planned. School and college commencement events also will remain virtual.

“Whether graduates choose to view the ceremony remotely with family or friends, or alongside their classmates in the Big House, graduation is such a special time for all of us at U-M, and we want to make this milestone in our graduates’ lives as memorable as possible,” Schlissel said.

“We’re grateful that changes in public health guidelines and conditions in our student community now allow us to offer the experience of being together in Michigan Stadium when their hard-earned degrees are conferred.”

To comply with state-mandated public health guidelines, the event will require tickets and use staggered admission times. Students will be screened upon entering to ensure they have completed the online ResponsiBLUE questionnaire and and show testing compliance as part of the U-M COVID-19 Community Sampling and Tracking Program.

Graduating students will receive a message from the Spring Commencement planning team with additional details and a link to register for tickets in mid-April. 

In addition to the May 1 event, graduating students also still have the opportunity to take part in one of multiple socially distanced photo sessions on the field of Michigan Stadium beginning April 6. Eligible graduates will receive additional details and a link to register in the coming week.

Other activities and campus efforts to celebrate the graduates are in development and will be announced soon.

Graduates who missed out on an in-person ceremony due to COVID-19 are also welcome to attend and participate in any future commencement of their choosing.

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