Skip to main content

FAQ

In consultation with public health experts, the university has determined it will host Commencement ceremonies on campus for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. While we are planning to celebrate in person, there is a possibility that we may have to postpone or cancel again based on COVID-19 conditions at that time. If any changes are made, we will update the Vanderbilt community via email and this website.


  • In-person undergraduate Commencement ceremony (confirmed)—On May 1, 2021, all undergraduate students are invited to join the Commencement ceremony. Two guests are invited to attend in person for each graduate, and a livestream of the ceremony will be available for graduates and guests participating remotely.
  • In-person graduate and professional Commencement ceremonies (pending your school or college’s plans)—On May 2, 2021, graduate and professional students are invited to join their school or college’s in-person Commencement ceremony. Two guests are invited to attend in person for each graduate, and tickets will be required. Details about virtual aspects of the ceremonies will be shared by each school or college and will be posted on this website.
  • Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, no receptions, parties or other gatherings will be permitted.
  • In-person undergraduate Commencement ceremony (confirmed)—On May 15, 2021, all undergraduate students are invited to join the Commencement ceremony. Two guests are invited to attend in person for each graduate, and a livestream of the ceremony will be available for graduates and guests unable to attend.
  • In-person graduate and professional Commencement ceremonies (details pending your school or college’s plans)—On May 15 or 16, 2021, graduate and professional students are invited to join their school or college’s Commencement ceremony. Two guests are invited to attend in person for each graduate, and tickets will be required. Details about virtual aspects of the ceremonies will be shared by each school or college and posted on this website.

Commencement guest ticket reservations for undergraduates are now available. Students received an email with a unique, non-transferable access code to reserve their two guest tickets on the FEVO website. Reservations must be made by Wednesday, March 31. Guest ticket reservations for graduate and professional students will open on Friday, March 19.

Once you reserve your tickets, you will first receive a confirmation from FEVO for your reservation. You will receive a separate email from FEVO 48 hours before Commencement notifying you that your tickets are in your account with instructions on how to access them.

Additional guest tickets

Any remaining guest tickets will be available after the reservation deadline on March 31. If you are seeking two additional tickets, you must indicate your interest at the checkout screen when you request your initial set of guest tickets. You will be put on a waitlist and we will contact you if tickets become available. The additional pod of two may not end up being in the same section, and guests are not allowed to move pods at the stadium. Additional tickets will be released as available and are not guaranteed.

Distributing and reselling tickets are prohibited

The above code is only for you to invite your guests; the code is not transferable to other graduates or their guests. Anyone found to be distributing guest tickets in exchange for compensation of any kind may not be able to participate in Commencement and all of their tickets will be invalidated. If you have questions regarding your guest tickets, please fill out this form. (Note: This form cannot be used to reserve tickets; you must use the FEVO website and your code.)

Commencement Day

Guests will enter through Gates 2 and 3 for the undergraduate Commencement ceremonies. Guests may be required to show a form of identification for entry to Commencement. Electronic tickets will be scanned on guest’s phones at the gates with no physical contact taking place.

For those who require accessible or religious accommodations, please fill out the following form.

 

Please note: Tickets are only for guests. Class of 2020 graduates should enter their intent to attend in person using the following RSVP link. Class of 2021 graduating students will enter their intent to attend in the Graduation Confirmation form in YES.

Any remaining guest tickets will be available after the reservation deadline on March 31. If you are seeking two additional tickets, you must indicate your interest at the checkout screen when you request your initial set of guest tickets. You will be put on a waitlist and we will contact you if tickets become available. The additional pod of two may not end up being in the same section, and guests are not allowed to move pods at the stadium. Additional tickets will be released as available and are not guaranteed.

Please note that the university will not host The Party this year.

To protect the health and safety of members of the Vanderbilt community, it is imperative that all attendees of Commencement ceremonies adhere to the university’s campus safety protocols at all times while on campus. All attendees must also do their part to comply with health and safety protocols leading up to the event, which includes quarantining before arriving on campus. Attendees who are symptomatic or designated as a close contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive should not attend Commencement. The Commencement ceremonies are only possible with your strict adherence to mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings.

Class of 2020 graduates and guests of both Commencement ceremonies must review the university’s Campus Visitors Acknowledgment before arriving on campus. Find more information on the Commencement COVID-19 health and safety protocols webpage.

The main parking locations for Commencement include the 25th Avenue Garage and Lot N (between Natchez Trace and Vanderbilt Place). Additional parking options can be found on the Parking page

In order to maintain the contactless nature of the events, all programs will be available online and printed programs will be mailed to Class of 2021 graduates after the ceremony. Class of 2020 graduates, including those who graduated in August 2019, December 2019 and May 2020, received mailed programs last year.

As part of our emergency preparedness protocols, the university will monitor weather monitoring before and during all Commencement activities. In the event of severe inclement weather, ceremonies may be postponed or canceled. In the event of rain absent severe weather, ceremonies will continue, and ponchos will be provided to guests and graduates. 

For health and safety reasons, students will hood themselves during in-person Commencement events.

Based on public health guidance, the spacing requirements to ensure all attendees are following campus protocols mandate a limited number of guests. The two guests of each graduate will sit together in “pod-style" seating during Commencement ceremonies but must keep their masks on and maintain physical distance from other guests.

Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas in 2020. Those who did not receive a diploma should visit the Registrar’s diplomas page.

Class of 2021 graduates will receive their diplomas by mail.

Final ceremony details are still being developed; however, the university plans to recognize every graduate during the ceremony.

 

A livestream of the ceremonies will be available on the Vanderbilt University website homepage. A recording of all ceremonies will also be available on the website after Commencement.

While we are planning to celebrate in person in May 2021, there is a possibility that we may have to postpone or cancel again based on COVID-19 conditions at that time. If any changes are made, we will update the Vanderbilt community via email and this website.

Yes, graduates wishing to use a chosen or preferred name rather than their primary name listed in the Registrar’s YES system, may submit a request to do so here. The deadline to submit requests is April 7. These requests will be reviewed for approval by the Registrar in consultation with the Dean of Students Office and the Office for Inclusive Excellence.

We would like to honor these requests for everyone however, due to time limits, we ask that requests only be submitted by those who identify as transgender and/or gender non-conforming or are international students with a U.S. chosen or preferred name. This enables us to honor those communities by continuing our commitment to inclusion and belonging, while not being inundated by an influx of chosen or preferred name submissions.

Please note that this request, if approved, will only change your name as it is called orally at the ceremony and displayed visually during the ceremony presentation. Diplomas and programs must list a student’s official, legal name as listed in YES. For more on that process visit the Registrar’s website.

Other requests, including those for students to use a variation of their primary name (Bob instead of Robert, for example) cannot be accommodated at this time but a process for such requests will be considered for future years. For questions, please contact the Registrar’s Office.  


More FAQs will be added as we continue to finalize details for the Commencement ceremonies.