April 29 - To Class of 2021 graduate students: Policies for Commencement guests

Dear Class of 2021 graduate students,

Congratulations on your upcoming Commencement. As announced earlier this week, due to changes in state regulations, the University is now able to accommodate two guests per graduate at your ceremony on Thursday, May 6 at 3 p.m. We look forward to celebrating with you and your loved ones.

Please note that very little has changed with regard to the order of exercises, testing requirements for students or safety protocols. Please read this message carefully in preparation for next week and also refer to information posted on the Commencement webpage.

If you have chosen to attend Commencement on May 16 in addition to or in place of the May 6 ceremony, please check the Commencement webpage for information pertaining to events and procedures on that day, as there are some differences.

Pre-Testing, Check-In and Guest Policy

All students will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 48 hours (2 days) of the ceremony upon check-in at the O’Hare Academic Building. This can be shown electronically or via printout at check-in. You should plan to check in at 2 p.m. Students who have not checked in by 2:45 will not be able to process.

Students who have confirmed their participation in the ceremony are allowed a maximum of two guests. Guests do not need to RSVP for the ceremony, as they will be registered in association with the student’s name at check-in.

  • Guest check-in will be located near the Commencement tent on the McAuley Hall lawn. Check-in will begin approximately one hour prior to the ceremony at 2 p.m.
  • Guests do not need to provide a negative Covid-19 test per state guidelines, however they will be screened at check-in.
  • Graduates and their guests will receive wristbands color-coded by ceremony to assist with safety protocols.
  • Once guests are checked in, they are free to find a seat in the designated seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Guests must remain masked at all times (even outdoors) and follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Guests will not be allowed to leave their seats during the ceremony to take photos or congregate elsewhere. Should a guest need to leave the tent area for personal or emergency matters, they will be escorted by staff to the tent exit.

The Commencement tent will be open on the sides to accommodate air flow. The oceanside location can be cold during the late afternoon/early evening, so please dress accordingly.

Given the last-minute pivot to accommodate guests, the tent setup will include monitors near the seating area to provide additional viewing opportunities. The ceremony will also be live-streamed with the link available on the Commencement website.

Due to space and staffing restrictions, there will be no separate location on campus to view the livestream of the ceremony.


The University has contracted with GradImages to provide professional photography during the ceremony. GradImages will take one photo of each student receiving their diploma case from the president (with mask), and there will also be an area set as each graduate descends the stage where a photo will be taken without a mask. GradImages will contact you directly regarding those photos in the event you wish to purchase them.

Following the ceremony, families are allowed to take photographs on campus as long as they remain outside of any buildings. We simply ask that you keep a safe social distance from others and that you re-mask after a photograph is taken.

Social Media

The University has several social media accounts. Please consider tagging us and using the hashtag #salve2021 so that we may continue to share in your celebration.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have adjusted to an incredible amount of change throughout this pandemic. We are thrilled that we can provide an in-person celebration for you and that you will have others in attendance to share in the experience. You have certainly worked hard for this moment and we look forward to learning about and celebrating your accomplishments for years to come.