graduation cap with tassel that says \"2021\"
VCU's virtual commencement will take place on May 15. (Getty Images)

VCU will hold universitywide virtual commencement and in-person academic unit graduation ceremonies

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Virginia Commonwealth University will host a universitywide virtual commencement this spring while also holding an assortment of in-person graduation ceremonies at the department, school and college levels.

“It's important that we recognize the accomplishments of the VCU Class of 2021,” VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said. “As leaders, problem-solvers and agents of change they've combined what they learned in and out of the classroom and are among the very best the world has to offer. I look forward to celebrating their achievements in May, and I’m pleased in-person gatherings are possible for smaller graduation events.” 

The virtual commencement will take place on May 15. The program will include a Zoom pre-party for students, video clips and photos from graduates to commemorate their accomplishments while at VCU as well as traditional ceremony elements to celebrate the occasion of their graduation, including speeches and music. Each graduate may register to receive two commemorative graduation programs and a celebration box. A student speaker representing the spring 2021 class — selected from video auditions — will be among the participants. VCU also held virtual commencements in May and December of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition, in-person ceremonies that celebrate new graduates will be planned at the academic unit level, and more details will be available as plans are finalized. Graduating students will receive updated information about their ceremony through direct communication. This information will include date, time, location, and the number of guests allowed, among other details of the event. In-person ceremonies will include a virtual and accessible viewing option for those graduates and families unable to attend.

The in-person ceremonies will follow updated guidance issued by the office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in Executive Order 72. These guidelines on indoor and outdoor gatherings detail restrictions, necessary protocols and expectations for graduation ceremonies throughout the state. VCU will adhere to these guidelines and other practices dedicated to the health and safety of VCU students, their families, faculty and staff, and the community. 

For questions, updates and more details, including how to submit an audition to be the student speaker, visit