BU Will Hold Two Separate 2021 Commencement Ceremonies May 16 on Nickerson Field
Graduate students to be honored in the morning, undergrads in the afternoon
- May 16 All-University Commencement will be two separate ceremonies
- Graduate degree recipients attend the morning ceremony, undergraduates the afternoon ceremony
- Government COVID-19 gathering limits preclude single ceremony on Nickerson Field
The 148th Boston University Commencement on May 16—already historically reconfigured by COVID-19—is getting another unprecedented makeover: it will now consist of two separate ceremonies, a morning one for graduate degree recipients and an afternoon gathering for bachelor’s degree recipients, both on Nickerson Field.
The change, announced Friday in a letter to candidates for graduation by President Robert A. Brown, was necessitated by anticipated high attendance, based on a survey of graduating students. City and state limits on gathering sizes make it impossible to accommodate both graduate degree and undergraduate degree recipients on Nickerson Field simultaneously, even with previously announced restrictions that prevents families and guests of graduates from attending.
“We conducted a survey of prospective graduates as to their interest in attending the ceremony,” Brown writes in his letter. “We are greatly encouraged by the level of interest in the Commencement ceremony.”
Details regarding the agenda for each ceremony, including the Commencement speaker’s address, the awarding of honorary degrees, and the Metcalf Cup and Prize and Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be announced shortly by the University. The timing of the annual Baccalaureate service, set to take place on Alpert Mall, has been moved from 11 am to noon on May 16, between the two ceremonies.
The first ceremony will begin with advanced degree candidates arriving at Nickerson at predetermined times between 8:15 and 9:15 am, with the formal Commencement beginning at 9:30 am.
“Participants will be seated on the field and possibly in the grandstands, with physical distancing” and adherence to Back2BU pandemic protocols, Brown writes. Those newly minted alumni will exit by 11 am, and crews will then clean and sanitize the chairs, stadium seats, restrooms, and other equipment. At 12:15 pm, bachelor’s degree recipients will begin to arrive at predetermined times for the second ceremony, which will begin at 2 pm and conclude by 3:30 pm.
We recognize that the events we are planning cannot be as fulfilling as they would be if we could host family and friends. Nonetheless, I am pleased that we are returning, step by step, to operations and events that are closer to normal.
All students receiving graduate and undergraduates degrees must register online for their respective Commencement ceremony between 7 am on April 30 and midnight May 9. During registration, graduates will select from available arrival times, which must be observed to avoid congestion and adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
“We will be providing virtual access to the event” for families, friends, graduates, and guests who cannot attend due to gathering limits, Brown says in his letter. That access will be on the University’s Commencement website.
“After more than a year of enforced remoteness and isolation, I am looking forward to joining with our graduates to celebrate their achievements in person,” the president writes. “We recognize that the events we are planning cannot be as fulfilling as they would be if we could host family and friends. Nonetheless, I am pleased that we are returning, step by step, to operations and events that are closer to normal. And I am grateful to those who are putting much thought and creative energy into planning events that we intend to be worthy of our students’ hard work and achievements.”
At the first ceremony, advanced degrees will be awarded to students from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the College of Communication, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, the Pardee School of Global Studies, the School of Medicine, the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Metropolitan College, the Questrom School of Business, the School of Hospitality Administration, the School of Law, the School of Public Health, the School of Social Work, the School of Theology, and Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.
In the afternoon, undergraduate degrees will be awarded from the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Communication, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, the Pardee School of Global Studies, Metropolitan College, the Questrom School of Business, the School of Hospitality Administration, and Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.