Washington University in St. Louis has canceled the Commencement ceremony on May 15, due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.

We know that this decision is very disappointing for our graduates and their families. Our students work incredibly hard to reach this milestone and deserve to be celebrated. We are already starting to think about how we can celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 at another time.

Please watch for additional communications in the weeks to come related to a future celebration.

Commencement 2021

Friday, May 21, 2021
Brookings Quadrangle
8:30 a.m.

Recognition ceremonies and receptions precede or immediately follow the ceremony.

Tickets are not needed for Commencement. Seats are available first come, first served. 

The Procession

Candidates should march in front of or behind the person with whom they wish to sit, not side by side.

  • By 8 a.m., all candidates must be at the assembly point designated for each school.
  • The procession will begin at 8:30 a.m. sharp, led by the grand marshal, the chancellor, members of the administration, the Board of Trustees, honorary degree recipients, faculty, and alumni from the 50th reunion class.
  • The student divisions will follow the procession leaders according to the order shown on the procession order and assembly points chart.

The Ceremony

The program begins with the Commencement address, followed by the presentation and conferral of degrees.

The Academic Recession

  • All graduates will recess from the Quadrangle under the direction of the Commencement marshals.
  • Graduates should arrange to meet friends and relatives at the recognition ceremony locations or at a point not immediately adjacent to the Quadrangle to alleviate crowding and enable a quick exit from the ceremony.

The ceremony typically concludes no later than 11 a.m.

Photography and video

Please note that individual pictures of each student at each of the school recognition ceremonies will be available from professional photographers.

  • Out of consideration for others, please keep the front of the stage and pathways clear during the ceremony.
  • The northeast corner of the Quadrangle features a roped-off area designated for photography. Parents and guests are encouraged to enter this area, take a picture and return to their seats as quickly as possible so that others may have the same opportunity.

University photos and video of Commencement will be posted on Widen and YouTube.

Additional viewing locations and online streaming

Several additional viewing locations are available for guests who wish to remain indoors during Commencement. The ceremony will also be streamed online and accessible via the Commencement homepage.

Sign language and accessibility

An American Sign Language interpreter will be present during Commencement and during individual school ceremonies.

For information on parking and Quadrangle access, please consult the Accessibility page.

#WashU21 and email updates

Help celebrate the Class of 2021 by sharing your tweets, photos, and videos using our official Commencement hashtag. Don’t forget to sign up to receive email updates, as well.


Place your order today for a graduation bouquet. Flowers will be available for pickup at Commencement. Don’t forget to order graduation announcements and share your news!