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Fall 2020 Virtual Commencement FAQ's

On Oct. 22, Drake University announced the difficult decision to cancel its December commencement exercises as a result of the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. In place of its traditional ceremonies, the University will hold a virtual commencement celebration to recognize undergraduates and graduates of the Class of 2020. Planning for the virtual event is underway and more details will be communicated soon. May, August, and December 2020 graduates will be invited to participate in the University’s next traditional, in-person commencement ceremony as soon as it is safe to do so.

Will a commencement program still be produced?

A traditional commencement program recognizing those eligible for the Fall 2020 commencement ceremonies will be produced and mailed to each graduate with their diploma. Each graduate will have the option to order an additional program to have as a keepsake. Information on how to order additional programs will be shared in the coming weeks. In addition, a PDF version of the program will be available on the Registrar’s web page and on the virtual commencement website.

What will a virtual commencement ceremony be like?

While a virtual ceremony will not be able to replicate a traditional in-person event, we are dedicated to creating a meaningful virtual experience for our graduates. The pride we feel for our graduates this semester is immeasurable. Graduates and their family and friends will be provided a URL to an online hub that will contain various video and photo elements. Videos will showcase the conferment of degrees, remarks from speakers, the presentation of candidates, and more.

Details of the virtual celebration, including the date, time, and agenda, are still being determined and will be shared as soon as possible. Once live, the website will be available for viewing for several weeks. This gives graduates and their family and friends the flexibility to tune in and celebrate at a time that’s convenient for them, or to rewatch the content.

Will an in-person celebration take place at a later date?

All 2020 graduates—May, August, and December—will be invited to participate in the University’s next traditional, in-person commencement ceremony when it is feasible and safe to do so from a public health perspective. As the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves, the University will continue to provide communication regarding an in-person ceremony. Graduates should watch their Drake email account for updates.

How will graduates receive their diplomas?

Diplomas will be mailed to the address listed on the student’s graduation application. In general, diplomas are mailed 6 to 8 weeks after a student's work is completed. If you need to change your diploma-mailing address, please email your changes to brina.coppi@drake.eduFind more information on the distribution of diplomas.

Will I be able to purchase regalia?

Academic regalia is not required for the virtual commencement ceremony. Students may choose to purchase (or rent if a doctoral student) their cap and gown for pictures or to save and wear to an in-person ceremony in the future. All 2020 graduates—May, August, and December—will be invited to participate in the University’s next traditional, in-person commencement ceremony when it is feasible and safe to do so from a public health perspective.

Students graduating with a bachelor's or master's degree may purchase academic regalia at the University Bookstore or on the Bookstore’s website. Students graduating with a doctoral degree will need to either visit the Bookstore or contact the store for measurements.

How do I stay in touch with the University after I graduate?

Graduates can stay involved and keep in touch with their fellow Bulldogs by attending events in their area, volunteering, and more. Connect with Alumni Relations and make sure your information is up to date.

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