University plans virtual commencement for class of 2021


Eric Henry

The statue of John J. Egan, located outside of the Lincoln Park Student Center, wearing a mask.

For the second year in a row, traditional in-person graduation ceremonies will be replaced with virtual celebrations this May and June, DePaul announced in a Monday morning email from Interim Provost Salma Ghanem. 

The decision was made as a result of the new, more contagious variants of Covid-19 and slow rollout of the vaccine.

DePaul realizes this is not the commencement you and your loved ones hoped for and we understand your disappointment and frustration,” Ghanem said in the email. “We are making this decision now to eliminate a level of uncertainty and to give the planning team time to build on last year’s online ceremonies with on-campus activities that will help the entire DePaul community celebrate your accomplishments.”

Students will be asked to provide additional input to Academic Events in coming months about planned celebratory events, according to the email.

Among these events is an opportunity for graduating students to “safely celebrate their accomplishments on campus” with a series of outdoor activities adhering to CDC guidelines over 10 days in May.   

An online commencement ceremony will be held on June 12. Each college and school will have their own ceremony with President A. Gabriel Esteban and students as speakers. 

The email added the university hopes to add a notable guest speaker soon. Last year, DePaul alum and “Stranger Things” star Joe Keery participated in commencement celebrations. 

Graduates will also be receiving a “curated box of DePaul-branded items, including a diploma cover” later this spring. 

Applications to be the student speaker for each college are due by March 15. Orders for graduation regalia should also be ordered by March 15.