UW-Madison gears up for in-person commencement with COVID-19 safety protocols in place

PHOTOS: Buckeyes v. Badgers at Camp Randall

MADISON, Wis. — With two separate commencement ceremonies planned for Saturday, graduation festivities at UW-Madison are set to run a bit differently compared to the traditional ceremony at Camp Randall.

The university announced in March that this year’s ceremonies will take place in person and be split into separate ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students. Plus, no guests will be allowed into Camp Randall for the ceremonies.

More than 7,600 students will graduate this year, including 5,493 undergraduate students, 1,266 master’s degree students and 871 doctoral candidates.

“Throughout the course of this past year, I have been impressed by the resilience and grace that the Class of 2021 has demonstrated in the face of upheaval and uncertainty,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement. “I want to extend a special thank you to the family and friends whose love and support has helped carry them through.”

The ceremony for undergraduate students kicks off at noon and will feature virtual remarks from Broadway star and UW alumnus André De Shields. The ceremony for graduate degree candidates starts at 4 p.m. and will feature a virtual keynote from renowned psychologist and UW alumnus John Gottman.

In addition to limiting the ceremony to graduating students, the university has implemented COVID-19 safety protocols including physical distancing, masking, and requiring students to either be vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test on file. Students attending the ceremony were also required to complete an online course with detailed instructions in order to attend.

Family, friends and graduates who aren’t able to attend the festival will be able to watch a live stream of the ceremonies online at wisc.edu/commencement.

Last week, the university announced plans for a ceremony in the fall to celebrate the class of 2020, which saw its commencement go entirely virtual early on in the pandemic.