An in-person spring commencement for IU graduates

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dear IU student,

I am extremely pleased to be able to tell you that Indiana University expects to hold in-person, outdoor May commencement ceremonies on all of its campuses for both 2020 and 2021 undergraduate and graduate students. As delighted as we are to plan these commencement ceremonies, your health and safety — and that of every member of our campus communities — remain our top priority. Hence in-person attendance will be limited to graduates only, but family and friends are invited to attend commencement virtually.

This decision is based on the best medical and public health advice from the experts on IU's Medical Response Team, which has led the university's comprehensive and successful public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year now.

Commencement is one of the most beloved ceremonies at any university across the nation, and it was an agonizing decision for us to have to cancel it last May. We were all bitterly disappointed that this was necessary.

But given IU's success in keeping our campuses and communities safe, as well as our nation's progress in fighting the pandemic, we believe it will be possible this May to hold in-person, outdoor commencement ceremonies for all of our students on all of our campuses, and to do so safely and consistent with our pandemic public health policies. 

IU's success in keeping our campuses and communities safe is your accomplishment. All you have done over the past year — your persistence, your doggedness and the seriousness you have shown through this grave crisis in adhering to our pandemic policies — will make these commencements possible.

And while we regret that your family and friends will not be able to be there in person, we believe we are following the safest course of action — backed by the best medical advice from our public health experts — while still enabling you to share your achievements, virtually, with those closest to you.

When we announced, in the early days of the pandemic, the cancellation of the spring 2020 commencement ceremonies, we said that you would still have the opportunity to be part of future ceremonies once the public health situation allowed it. Thus, I am pleased to invite all the members of IU's Bicentennial Class of 2020, who remained dedicated to their studies in spite of the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic, to participate in these commencement ceremonies, which will be the crowning moment of your studies at IU and which you have so rightly earned.

More details about the commencement ceremonies will be forthcoming, and initial information is available on IU's commencement website. We are also encouraging all students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 to indicate their interest in attending their commencement ceremony. Participating graduates will be required to undergo specific COVID-19 testing.

While these plans are subject to change based on the public health outlook as May approaches, we are excited for the opportunity to celebrate in person with you but in a way consistent with IU's rigorous pandemic policies.

Thank you most sincerely for continuing to do your part to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Michael A. McRobbie