How the spring 2021 graduation will work

Jennifer Ronzon, Reporter

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the globe, UNF’s spring 2021 graduates were left wondering what would come of their graduation. Thankfully, the university’s commencement coordinators worked hard to plan a safe alternative to honor the graduates’ accomplishments. 

Graduation weekend kicks off April 17, and will include virtual celebrations as well as an in-person walk-along.

In addition to messages for graduates shared across official UNF social media accounts, a website dedicated to celebrating the spring 2021 graduates will launch April 17. The website will share messages from President Szymanski and others, as well as musical highlights and department recognitions. 

The in-person walk-through will take place in the Lazzara Theatre in the UNF Fine Arts building. The event will span over two days, April 17-18, depending on the graduates’ college. 

Walk-throughs on April  17 will include students from the College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction, as well as the College of Art and Sciences. April  18 will host students from the Coggin College of Business, Brooks College of Health, and the College of Education and Human Services. 

To ensure everyone’s safety at the event, graduates will only be permitted two guests. Upon arriving, students and guests will be asked to complete the UNF COVID-19 self-check and temperature screenings. 

Once checked in, students will be escorted to the stage, with the event timed. As they cross the commencement stage, their guests will be walking along with them from below. Graduates will have two photo opportunities- a graduation portrait and a portrait with their guests. 

Unlike traditional commencement ceremonies, there will be no speeches at the walk-alongs. All recognitions and congratulatory messages from staff and student leaders will be hosted on the website for graduates. 

Although regalia is not required for the walk-along, it is asked that students dress in appropriate business attire. If you have not ordered your regalia and would like to, the deadline to do so is March 19. This was changed from the original deadline of March 26. 

The deadline to apply for graduation is March 5. This is important because the data from graduation applications, including which graduates plan on attending the graduation walk-along, will be used to determine the scheduling for the event. 

If you previously applied for graduation and are unsure of your status for the walk-along portion, please reach out to [email protected] to verify. 

The graduation walk-along is for spring 2021 graduates only. Colin McKinney, UNF Commencement Coordinator, says UNF leadership is still working on a make-up plan for 2020 graduates.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].