University of Florida to hold in-person commencement for spring graduates

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 2:28 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The University of Florida will hold in-person commencement ceremonies this spring for the first time in more than a year.

“We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate our graduating students’ incredible accomplishments with in-person commencement ceremonies this spring. I can’t wait to join families and Gators everywhere in joyously saluting our graduates and cheering them on in their next adventure,” said UF President Kent Fuchs in a press release.

The 14 commencement ceremonies are scheduled over a five-day period from April 29 to May 3 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Due to the pandemic, all spring, summer and fall 2020 commencements were held virtually. The last in-person commencement was held in December 2019.

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“Spring 2021 commencement attendees will be required to adhere to health and safety protocols provided by UF Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including physical distancing and wearing of masks,” noted the university in its press release. “The health and safety protocols will be similar to the approach for UF athletic events currently held in the O’Connell Center.

“The O’Connell Center will be restricted to 20% capacity for each ceremony to enable physical distancing, limiting the number of guests per candidate to two. At that rate, an estimated 584 students will participate in each commencement ceremony. The number of staff and volunteers who traditionally work the ceremonies has been reduced as well.

“Because of the limited capacity, three ceremonies will be held each day, and the O’Connell Center will be sanitized in between each event. Masks will be required of all participants and guests. Also, hand sanitizer stations will be available on site.”

If weather permits, Florida will also open up Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for family and friends who cannot attend the events inside the O’Dome. The plan is to show the ceremonies on the big screen. The capacity at the stadium will be 17,000 and masks will be required as well as social distancing.

Each ceremony also will be livestreamed for those unable to attend the stadium or O’Connell Center events.

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According to the press release from the university, UF is also trying to offer is every 2020 graduate an opportunity for a make-up in-person recognition ceremony. No plans or dates have been finalized yet.

Students who wish to participate in their spring commencement ceremony must register by March 31 at Those who previously signed up must re-register as well due to the increase in ceremonies.

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