Student Affairs Blog

News and information beyond the classroom

Dear graduating students,

During this past academic year, your flexibility, resilience and commitment to academic success has been commendable. We want to recognize this momentous occasion and celebrate your achievements.

VCU will host a universitywide virtual commencement on May 15 while also holding multiple in-person graduation ceremonies at the department, school and college levels.

We are going virtual based on advice from our health experts, as well as due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols in place at the state level regarding large events. VCU evaluated all options for a large outdoor event and determined that there was nothing available that could safety accommodate our needs.

We considered many factors in this decision, including appropriate venues and their availability, COVID-19 restrictions and timing. There are limited outdoor venues in Richmond and executive orders regarding crowd size eliminated the possibility of a university-wide commencement ceremony that could accommodate family and friends.

However, easing of restrictions opens the door for smaller school, college and unit in-person events that were not possible for our 2020 graduates.The in-person ceremonies will follow updated guidance issued by the office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

These guidelines on indoor and outdoor gatherings detail restrictions, necessary protocols and expectations for graduation ceremonies throughout the commonwealth. 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.

The universitywide virtual commencement 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 can register to receive two programs and a celebration box.

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.

Similar to last fall, the universitywide virtual commencement will feature a student speaker representing the spring 2021 class and I encourage you to apply. Interested students should submit an audition video of not more than four minutes addressing how their experience at VCU has “made it real” for them.

Videos should be submitted to in either a MP4 or MOV format by Wednesday, April 7. Please note if the file size is too large, you may be prompted to send it through Google Drive. Videos will be reviewed by a commencement committee and finalists will be notified. Submitted videos may also be used on university platforms to help celebrate virtual commencement and if selected, students will be asked their permission in advance.

Students who apply should be an eligible spring 2021 graduate and should also be available on Friday, April 16 for a recording of their official address. Please direct any questions regarding the student speaker to

For questions, please email and check for additional updates.

We appreciate your flexibility and we look forward to safely celebrating the Class of 2021.


Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost
Division of Student Affairs

Categories Fall 2020 - Spring 2021