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Spring 2020 Commencement FAQ

On March 25, Drake University announced the difficult decision to cancel its May 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 on May 16 to recognize graduates of the Class of 2020. Planning is underway and more details will be communicated soon. In addition, all graduates are invited to attend the regularly scheduled December 2020 commencement.

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. A virtual commencement celebration will take place on May 16 at, serving as a hub for all commencement related activities. There will not be a specific start time for the celebration as graduates and their family and friends are invited to tune in at any time on May 16.  All of the content will be available until December 2020.

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

All students eligible to participate in the May 2020 commencement are invited to also participate in the December 2020 commencement, which will include all of the traditional commencement festivities. Graduates who choose to participate in the December ceremony will have their names printed in both the May and December commencement programs. Graduates will be contacted this fall via their Drake email address regarding their choice to participate in the December 2020 commencement.

I am unavailable for the ceremony on May 16th, what are my options?

The virtual commencement ceremony will remain on Drake’s website until December, 2020.  Graduates, and their family and friends, will be able to view the content and celebrate at a time that is convenient for them.

Do I need to RSVP for the ceremony?

No RSVP is necessary.

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

Find more information on the distribution of diplomas.

Will a commencement program still be produced?

A traditional commencement program recognizing those eligible for the Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies will be produced and mailed to each printed 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 will be available on the Registrar’s web page.

I have already rented/purchased my cap and gown. Will I get my money back?

The University Bookstore is developing a protocol for how students can safely return regalia and receive a refund. More information will be shared as soon as possible. Students who wish to participate in the December 2020 commencement ceremony are encouraged to keep their cap and gown.

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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