Commencement 2021

We are pleased to announce the Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 will be hosted in-person and on campus on Saturday, May 22.

Graduates will be allowed to have three guests attend the ceremony in person. The celebration will also be viewable via livestream. Saint Mary’s will follow all COVID-19 protocols, including face masks and proper physical distancing for all attendees and guests visiting campus. We will continue to monitor our state and county public health officials; their guidance will inform our decisions as Commencement day draws closer. As such, while we remain hopeful, plans for Commencement could change.

This website will be updated as more information becomes available.


Schedule of Events

Friday, May 21

12:30 p.m. Nurses Pinning 
O’Laughlin Auditorium
Attendance restricted to graduates only. This event will be livestreamed.

4 p.m. Baccalaureate Mass 
Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex
Attendance restricted to graduates only. This event will be livestreamed.

Saturday, May 22

12 p.m. Commencement 
Le Mans Green
Three guests per graduate. This event will be livestreamed.

PLEASE NOTE: If there is inclement weather, Commencement will be moved indoors to Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex. This decision will be made the morning of Commencement and announced via email, social media and the College website. A live broadcast of the ceremony will be available. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, guests will not be allowed to attend the indoor ceremony.

Graduates may not share their extra tickets with others.

4 p.m. Mass
Holy Spirit Chapel
The Mass for the Vigil of Pentecost will be celebrated in Holy Spirit Chapel for all those interested in celebrating the eucharist before they travel.


Checklist for Graduates

What you need to know and do to prepare for Commencement:

Clear Holds

If you have a hold on your student account, you will not be able to order transcripts or receive your diploma.

  • Confirm there is no hold on your student account. If there is a hold, contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@saintmarys.edu to help you understand which office placed the hold on your account.
  • You are responsible for resolving the hold. Because there are different types of holds, once you learn which office placed the hold on your account, contact them directly for more information.

Complete Exit Interview

  • Students who are graduating May 2021, August 2021, or December 2021 and who attained Federal Direct Student Loans while enrolled at Saint Mary's, are required by the federal government to complete exit loan counseling before receiving the diploma from Saint Mary's College. Students who need to complete exit loan counseling will see this requirement in the financial aid section of PRISM.
  • All undergraduates and graduate loan recipients must complete online exit counseling at studentaid.gov by logging in with the FSA ID.
    • The online exit loan counseling must be completed no later than Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
    • Online sessions will be offered to help students with the process, and to answer questions regarding loans. These sessions are not mandatory, though provide graduating students with valuable information on their loan borrowing history and repayment options.

Name Pronunciation

Please call (574) 284-5341 no later than May 9, to record the pronunciation of your name with Academic Affairs. Repeat your name three times if you are concerned your name might be mispronounced. 

Caps, Gowns and Other Graduation Regalia

All graduation regalia is purchased through the Shaheen Bookstore. The regalia package includes your cap, gown, hood, and tassel, and is yours to keep; it cannot be returned. Online ordering is available through March 12. If you do not order by March 12, the Bookstore cannot guarantee attire in your size. You can choose to ship it to the Bookstore (which includes free shipping) or ship to your home (shipping fees apply). Regalia distribution will occur in mid-April. An email to sign up for a pick up time will be sent at that time.


FAQs

+Will students who are taking classes online at home or those who graduated early be able to attend Commencement in person?

These students will be able to attend Commencement. The College will make decisions about health and safety protocols for these groups in the coming weeks. This information will be communicated as soon as possible.

+Will family members and guests be able to attend the events of Commencement 2021?

Our current plan allows three guests per graduate to attend our in-person ceremony. However, plans could change depending on guidance from our county health department. If the number changes, that information will be communicated to the graduates. PLEASE NOTE: If there is inclement weather, Commencement will be moved indoors to Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex. This decision will be made the morning of Commencement and announced via email, social media and the College website. A live broadcast of the ceremony will be available. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, guests will not be allowed to attend the indoor ceremony.

+How do I get my three guest tickets for Commencement?

The College is determining the distribution of the guest tickets and will communicate that information to the graduates in early May.

+Will guests need to be vaccinated or tested before coming to campus?

No, the College will not require guests to be vaccinated or tested. However, they will be expected to follow the College’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

+I only need two tickets. Can I give my extra tickets to someone else to us?

No, graduates may not share extra tickets.

+Will masks be required at Commencement?

Yes, masks are required to be worn by all individuals on campus. This is in accordance with the College’s and the St. Joseph County COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

+Will on-campus meals and housing be available for guests?

On-campus housing and meals will be available for Saint Mary’s College students only.

+How long is Commencement?

The Commencement ceremony begins promptly at noon and lasts approximately two hours. The ceremony often concludes at 2 p.m. However, if a larger number of graduates are receiving their diplomas, the ceremony will extend beyond 2 p.m.

+What happens if there is rain?

In the event of bad weather, Commencement will be moved indoors to Angela Athletic & Wellness Center. No guests will be allowed to attend. The College will notify the community via email, social media, and the College’s website if the location is changed. The ceremony will be livestreamed in both cases.

If the ceremony is indoors, the College will have two locations to watch Commencement: O’Laughlin Auditorium and Carroll Auditorium. Seating will be first-come, first-served and is only available for guests with wristbands. Both will have limited seating due to COVID-19 guidelines.

+Why can guests not attend the ceremony if Commencement is moved indoors due to inclement weather?

Saint Mary’s College follows state and local public health guidelines for all safety protocols relating to COVID-19. The capacity of Angela does not allow proper physical distancing under current recommendations.