2021 Commencement included both an in-person individual, private Stage Crossing experience and an online celebration featuring a virtual conferral of degrees.
Commencement Stage Crossing Details
- 2021 and 2020 graduates were invited to participate in the in-person individual, private Stage Crossing experience. This procession was specific to each graduate.
- Stage Crossings took place Monday, May 10 – Monday, May 17 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
- Graduates signed up for a 15-minute time slot on one of those days. During the time slot, the graduate’s name was announced as they crossed a stage.
- This celebration was not college or unit-specific, offering graduates maximum flexibility to choose a timeframe most convenient for them.
- Due to revisions to the university COVID-19 event guidelines, we increased the number of guests per graduate for the Stage Crossings to four guests.
- Guests were allowed to photograph their graduate.
- Professional photographers were also present to take formal portraits, and videographers livestreamed and recorded the Stage Crossings.
- There were mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols for all who participated, including wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.
All of our decisions related to events continue to be guided by the directives from the Illinois Department of Public Health and advice of our local public health officials. Graduates who were unable to or choose not to attend the Stage Crossings were welcome to participate in the online celebration and other virtual experiences for graduates.
Graduates and registration
Who can participate, and how do I register for the Commencement Stage Crossing?
All students who have applied for spring 2021 graduation will receive an email to their University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign email address in mid-March with Stage Crossing registration links. Spring and winter 2020 graduates will also be sent an email in mid- to late-March with a link to register for the Stage Crossings. Links are individualized. Graduates must register through this link.
If a student is finishing up coursework/internship in the summer, can they still participate in the Stage Crossing?
August graduates may participate in the Stage Crossings.
What dates and times will I be able to choose from for the Stage Crossing?
Stage Crossings will take place Monday, May 10 – Monday, May 17 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, with appointment times ranging from late morning to early evening. The stage crossing will be an individual private procession specific to each graduate and their guests, and graduates will be asked to select one 15-minute time slot when registering. Four guests will be allowed to accompany each graduate, and graduates will also register them at the time they select a graduation crossing timeslot. This celebration will not be college or unit-specific, offering graduates maximum flexibility to choose a timeframe most convenient for them.
Why is the university holding Stage Crossings instead of actual ceremonies this spring?
Many of our peer institutions have opted for virtual-only observances, but graduating students across the nation have said the most important aspects of Commencement are hearing their name called, proceeding across a stage, receiving a diploma cover and getting their picture taken while their loved ones watch. The Stage Crossing experience preserves those in-person moments while offering other components in a virtual experience.
Additionally, the State of Illinois gathering guidelines limit gatherings to 50 people, so even with no family and friends in attendance, the university would have to hold more than 160 ceremonies to accommodate the students who would be eligible to participate.
Will there be future in-person ceremonies for 2020 and 2021 graduates?
In the graduation cycle when it is safe to resume large, in-person gatherings, we still intend to invite graduates from 2020 and 2021 to participate in an on-campus ceremony at Memorial Stadium.
Stage Crossing logistics
What will happen at the Stage Crossing?
Graduates will sign up for a 15-minute time slot where the graduate’s name will be announced as they cross a stage. Four guests will be allowed to accompany each graduate. Professional photographers will be present to take formal portraits, and videographers will livestream and record the Stage Crossings. There will be mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols for all who participate, including wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing. Additional information about these safety protocols will also be shared directly with graduates as they are finalized.
How long will my Stage Crossing last?
This is a non-seated event and expected to take approximately 15 minutes from check-in to exit.
Are guests allowed at the Stage Crossing?
Up to four guests may accompany each graduate inside Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The graduate is required to register guests at the time they select a graduation crossing time slot. Graduates who have already registered can add their guest details to their Stage Crossing reservation through April 24 by logging in at Illinois.marchingorder.com.
During the Stage Crossing, guests will be able to photograph their graduate.
Do I have to wear a cap and gown?
Academic attire is encouraged and may be rented by April 1 through Herff Jones if desired.
How long can I keep my cap and gown?
Graduates are asked to return their regalia after the Stage Crossing. The gowns need to be cleaned before the material is damaged. Herff Jones will contact graduates to offer a discounted price to any graduate that already rented in 2020 or 2021 and wishes to participate in future ceremonies.
- Bachelor students – please keep the cap, tassel, and stole; only the gown is returned.
- Master and Doctoral students – please keep the tassel and return the gown, hood, and cap.
I was supposed to receive a stole or cord from a specific RSO or group. Will I still receive it?
Cords and stoles provided by Registered Student Organizations, athletics and campus departments are managed individually by those organizations. Please reach out to your contact within that specific organization.
I or my guest will require accommodations for accessibility. Who should I contact?
On your registration form, you will be asked to provide information about any accommodations we may provide. The routes utilized at Krannert Center are all accessible. Please contact Anna Simon if you have any questions.
What safety protocols will be in place during the actual Stage Crossing event?
There will be mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols for all who participate, including wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing. Additional information about these safety protocols will also be shared directly with graduates as they are finalized.
I am a graduating student. Do I have to wear my mask for the photo during the Stage Crossing?
Graduating students are allowed to remove their mask when they proceed across the stage and take their photograph.
I am a graduating student. Will I need to show my Building Access status to participate in the Stage Crossings?
Similar to buildings like the Illini Union and University Housing Residence Halls, Safer Illinois building access will not be required at the Stage Crossings. However, WSAs will be present at the Stage Crossing entrances to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols are followed.
When and where are diplomas mailed?
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign diplomas are 8.5 × 11 inches and sent by first-class mail to a student’s diploma address approximately nine weeks after your conferral date. Please review this address and update as necessary before leaving the University.
I want to frame the diploma. What are the dimensions?
The size of the diploma is 8.5 x 11 inches.
Will this impact when my degree is awarded?
If you complete the requirements for a degree at the end of the spring 2021 or summer 2021 semester, you will be considered a graduate at that time.