Class of 2021 Spring Commencement

To comply with current mass gathering restrictions, Carolina will hold multiple in-person, ticketed ceremonies on May 14, 15 and 16 in Kenan Stadium. The ceremonies will be led by a small platform party and feature live and pre-recorded content. We will be able to provide the number of guest tickets that each student registered for, up to, but not exceeding four tickets.

Graduates will be grouped by their school or department in the College of Arts & Sciences so that classmates can celebrate together. College of Arts & Sciences graduates can confirm their division at the College’s website.

We also know that some graduates prefer a virtual event, and we will livestream the ceremony for those who would rather watch it from home.

View the ceremony schedule 

Drs. Anthony Fauci and Kizzmekia Corbett ’14 (Ph.D.) will team up to deliver Carolina’s Spring Commencement address this May.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, has led the country’s response to the pandemic. He has served as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director since 1984. Corbett is a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronaviruses Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team at NIAID, and has been at the forefront of vaccine development.

Read more

Anthony Fauci and Kizzmekia Corbett

During Spring Commencement next month, nine people will receive honorary degrees from the University, including four chosen in 2021 and five from 2020, when Spring Commencement was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commencement speakers Anthony S. Fauci and Kizzmekia S. Corbett will receive honorary Doctor of Science degrees. Six others will receive honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, and one will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Meet the recipients

A doctoral student wears regalia.

Digital Commencement Program

Learn more about the ceremonies, the speakers, the graduating Class of 2021 and award winners in our digital program.

View the program

Preparing for graduation

For graduates

Commencement Ceremony 1
4 p.m., Friday, May 14

Adams School of Dentistry, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Medicine and School of Social Work

Commencement Ceremony 2
9 a.m., Saturday, May 15
Hussman School of Journalism and Media, School of Education, College of Arts & Sciences – Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering

Commencement Ceremony 3
2 p.m., Saturday, May 15
Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Information and Library Science, School of Government and School of Law

Commencement Ceremony 4
9 a.m., Sunday, May 16
College of Arts & Sciences — Fine Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences

Commencement Ceremony 5
2 p.m., Sunday, May 16
College of Arts & Sciences — Natural Sciences and Mathematics
(Note that the biology departments are included in Commencement Ceremony 2)

Registration is now closed. Due to stadium capacity, we are not able to make any further registration or guest ticket exceptions.

Students graduating with advanced degrees and enrolled in The Graduate School will be assigned to the ceremony corresponding with their school or department of study. The Graduate School will also host a virtual Doctoral Hooding Celebration.

All August 2021 graduates who did not apply to participate in the in-person ceremonies by March 31 will be invited to celebrate at the December 2021 ceremony.

Ceremony

2021 Commencement will include a series of ceremonies in Kenan Stadium throughout the weekend of May 14-16. Given COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols, the ceremonies will be smaller, physically distanced, and ticketed. All ceremonies will also be livestreamed on several platforms for virtual participation or viewing.

Students MUST register to attend IN-PERSON and must also request guest tickets. Admission will NOT be granted to the stadium for any person(s) without a pre-registered ticket for the appropriate event. Ceremony tickets will indicate the specific date/time and are NOT transferable.

Please note if registered for multiple guest tickets, the tickets will be seated side by side. We cannot separate the seats due to social distancing and capacity restrictions. Guests must sit in their assigned/ticketed seat.

Ticketing

Graduates must request guest tickets when completing the 2021 Spring Commencement Registration form. We will be able to provide the number of guest tickets that each student registered for, up to, but not exceeding four tickets.

  • Graduates who do not register for guest tickets now, will not be permitted to receive tickets later.
  • If multiple guest tickets are requested, the tickets will be seated side by side. We cannot separate the seats due to social distancing and capacity restrictions.
  • The tickets will be emailed to the graduate’s UNC email shortly before Commencement weekend.
  • The graduate is responsible for forwarding their guests the tickets.
  • Guests must present the tickets at the pre-assigned ceremony. No one will be allowed inside the stadium without the appropriate ticket.
  • Guests must sit in their assigned/ticketed seat.
  • Guest tickets are NOT transferrable.

Our staff has worked diligently to ensure that we can accommodate as many guest ticket requests as possible and use as much of Kenan Stadium as we possibly can within our current health and safety requirements. We have moved our stage location completely back to the end zone so that we can utilize the entire field for student seating and open up more sections for guests. We will be using the lower and upper levels with the exception of some sections closest to the stage that would have limited or no views. We are unable to open any of our suite or box area seating options due to the indoor concerns and restrictions that would be associated with those areas.

View frequently asked questions for students

Caps, Gowns, Announcements and Diploma Frames

Online orders must be placed before April 22 at https://unchapelhill.shopoakhalli.com/purchasewizard/Welcome

Undergraduate regalia is available for in-store pickup now through May 16.

Masters and Doctoral basic regalia will be available in-store the week of March 22and will be available through May 16.

Pricing:

  • Undergraduate regalia: $59.99 (basic) or $89.99 (deluxe)
  • Masters Regalia: $69.99
  • Doctoral Regalia: $78.99

If a student needs only part of an outfit, all pieces are available separately (not including gown).

Customized, more elaborate regalia can be ordered in-store or by contacting graduation@store.unc.edu. Please allow for an eight-week turnaround.

Customized graduation announcements can be purchased through Balfour.

Class Ring Ordering Information – please visit Balfour’s website.

Diploma Frame Ordering Information – order your diploma frame from Student Stores.

For other questions, please call (919) 962-7239 or email graduation@store.unc.edu.

ConGRADulations Fair

There will be no in-person ConGRADulations Fair due to the ongoing pandemic. 2021 Grad Central has been created to help seniors (and parents) gear up for the end of the semester and life after Carolina.

Senior Campaign

The Office of University Development invites seniors to support UNC-Chapel Hill through the Senior Campaign for Carolina. As Carolina students, you have been touched every day by private gifts to Carolina that maintain and enhance the University’s tradition of excellence. You can make a gift to any part of the University that is meaningful to you — your major, a professorship, a student organization, scholarships and student aid, or campus-wide programs. To make an immediate difference where it is needed the most, consider supporting The Carolina Fund. All gifts to Carolina are included as participation in the Senior Campaign. To learn more about how Carolina benefits from private support from alumni and friends, please visit the Annual Giving website.

Make your gift today.

For families

Hotel Accommodations and Visitor Information

We recommend making hotel reservations as early as possible. The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau can help you find the type of accommodation appropriate for your stay.

Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau Resources:

Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Resources:

UNC Visitors Center Resources:

Useful Contacts

View frequently asked questions for families

Venue and parking

Kenan Stadium Entry Policy

All guests and their belongings are subject to screening by entry personnel. The following items will NOT be permitted in Kenan Stadium:

  • Backpacks, duffel bags or oversized purses or computer cases
  • Alcohol, bottles, cans, food, thermoses, coolers, drugs, chains and fireworks
  • Weapons, noisemakers, laser pointers and other items deemed inappropriate by Kenan Stadium personnel
  • No signs larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches

Please leave wrapped gifts at home or in your car. Guests with health-related conditions such as diabetes, the elderly and those with young children will be permitted to bring in limited food and beverage.

Parking

Parking information

COVID-19 Protocols

Keeping people safe in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic requires all members of the Carolina community to do their part to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We are taking necessary precautions consistent with all University, state and CDC guidance to encourage as responsible and safe of a Commencement as possible. As a condition of your attendance, your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Guests must follow all of the University’s COVID-19 Community Standards including but not limited to:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Complying with physical distancing requirements and remaining in your assigned seat
  • Monitoring your symptoms prior to coming to campus and remaining at home if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19

We strongly encourage all guests to regularly wash their hands and to get one of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations.

Although masks are not required while outdoors in Orange County, they are required while in Kenan Stadium, while attending any other University events during Commencement weekend and whenever you are within six feet of another individual while on campus. An exemption to the mask wearing community standard will not typically be considered as a reasonable accommodation. Individuals with a disability or health condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask may seek alternative accommodations by emailing Commencement Accessibility Services access@unc.edu.

Guests may access information about mask wearing and physical distancing on campus using the Safer Ways web application at safer-ways.com.

Commencement ceremonies may be altered or canceled
 to adhere to all University, state or CDC guidance.

Accessibility services

General Information

To better accommodate the various needs of our visitors at Commencement, Carolina is providing two options for accessible seating. These options require an online reservation through Connect Carolina. Please speak with your student to ensure your request is submitted.  We will be following all of the UNC Community Standards. An exemption to the mask wearing community standard will not typically be considered as a reasonable accommodation. Individuals with a disability or health condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask may seek alternative accommodations by emailing Commencement Accessibility Services access@unc.edu.

Stadium Seating and Parking

Limited accessible seating for wheelchair users or those who cannot ascend or descend stairs is available in Kenan Stadium with a reservation that was requested through the 2021 Commencement Registration form via your student. Parking information will be released in the coming weeks.

If your student requested accessible seating, the pre-assigned guest tickets will reflect that.

Concourse Level Wheelchair Seating (Reservation Required)

The Concourse Level Wheelchair Section is reserved, and each reservation is for one wheelchair user plus one companion. Reservations are first-come, first-served. Visitors in need of accessible seating are strongly encouraged to arrive to the stadium no later than an hour before the ceremony begins in order to ensure you are in your seat for the start of the ceremony.

This section is located near the Kenan Football Center between Gates 3 and 5. ADA accessible restrooms will be located near the seating, as well as water stations. Feel free to bring a water bottle to fill or to bring your own water.

This section faces the main stage and provides a direct view of the event. However, this seating area will not be covered or enclosed, and guests will be subject to the elements. Please prepare appropriately for direct sun.

NOTE: Once the Concourse Level Wheelchair Section is filled, those requesting wheelchair seating will be assigned to a secondary wheelchair seating area.

Students should have already reserved accessible seating online when completing the registration form. If students need accessible seating, please contact commencement@unc.edu

Limited Mobility Seating (Reservation Required)

If your student requested accessible seating, the pre-assigned guest tickets will reflect that.

NOTE: Accessible seating is limited, and requests will be processed as they are received. Once the limited mobility seating section is filled, those requesting this seating will be assigned to a secondary seating area.

Wheelchairs

Neither ARS, EOC nor the University maintains a supply of wheelchairs for commencement ceremonies. Guests with difficulty walking are strongly encouraged to bring their own wheelchair or to rent one. Wheelchairs are generally available for short-term rental from medical supply stores and some pharmacies.

Livestreaming

Each commencement ceremony will be livestreamed and captioned and available for viewing.

Captioning

Each ceremony will have open captioning in the Stadium. A live streaming transcription of the audio portion of the ceremony audio will be displayed on the large reader boards for guests with difficulty hearing.

Sign Language Interpreting

A sign language interpreter will be provided. If you or your guest require access, please contact access@unc.edu.

Commencement Accessibility Services

If you have any questions about any other accessibility-related issues, please contact: access@unc.edu