In accordance with its COVID-19 protocols, Indiana University East is planning an in-person Commencement Ceremony on May 14, 2021 for graduates who have met the COVID-19 testing requirements (or are eligible to skip the tests). The outdoor ceremony is planned to take place on the IU East campus at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Whitewater Hall.
You’ve got your ticket reserved. Nice! Let family and friends know how they can celebrate with you by joining online at commencement.iu.edu.
Get the latest updates
To celebrate with you most fully, we need to stay in contact with you! We’ll have many more Commencement updates for you in the coming months, so don’t forget to check your IU East account often.
Also, visit this website regularly, and tell your family and friends to do the same.
Don’t forget your Commencement ticket! It is directly tied to your mitigation test results and your proof of vaccination; failure to comply with these IU policies will make your ticket null and void, resulting in you being unable to participate in the Commencement ceremony. This ticket is non-transferrable.
You will be sent an email with your arrival time for the ceremony, which will also be attached to your ticket. Each graduate will be given a staggered arrival time. Please be mindful to adhere to your specified arrival time.
Once you receive your regalia from Herff Jones, please remove it from its packaging and hang it on a hanger. You may need to steam it to get the wrinkles out of it.
Remember that we will be outside for the ceremony, and it can get hot or cold! Be sure to dress appropriately for the temperature and the ceremony. Business casual is suggested.
On Commencement Day, you will need to bring:
Your cap and tassel
Your stole of gratitude (Crimson sash)
Your hood (if you are a Master’s graduate)
Facial mask to cover your nose and mouth to be worn for the duration of the ceremony.
If traveling by vehicle, you MUST arrive on campus via the Cart Road (see accompanying map). Not the main entrance or Reid Health entrance --- they will be blocked that day. Upon entering campus, you will be directed to park in the designated parking area. You should come alone, as no guests are permitted to attend the ceremony or tailgate during the ceremony. If you do not drive, you may be dropped off by a friend or family member. Graduates residing at the Richmond Flats may walk to campus through the connecting walkway which will lead you to the check-in area.
Please put on your Commencement regalia BEFORE following the directional signs to Commencement site (Whitewater parking lot).
At the Check-in Tent, you will receive TWO index cards with your name and your email.
At the Check-in Tent, you can also receive Honor’s Cords and Veterans Cords, if eligible.
You will follow directional signs to Ticket Tent and have your ticket scanned by a Commencement volunteer, which will grant you access into the ceremonial space.
Once in the ceremonial space, you will receive a bag with several great items, including your diploma cover.
You need to remain in the ceremonial space until the ceremony concludes. There will be access to bathrooms within the ceremonial space.
When the ceremony begins, all graduates will need to stand as the Dean’s and faculty representatives process into the ceremony. You will remain standing until told to be seated by IU President Michael McRobbie.
Men should be aware that they should remove their caps during the singing of our National Anthem.
When you are released to walk across the stage, you MUST take your TWO index cards and your diploma cover with you to the stage. You will hand your cards to the staff member.
IU East Registrar Dennis Hicks, will read your name. You will walk across the platform and then be given the opportunity to unmask, if you choose, for a professional photograph with your diploma cover. You must re-mask after your photo is taken. This step is critically important to follow.
When the ceremony ends, the recessional at the end of the ceremony will be in reverse order of the processional: platform party first, followed by the faculty, followed by the graduates. Graduates will be released by row, wedding style.
Following Commencement, you will send your robe back to Herff Jones. You should have received return instructions and a return label in your regalia shipment.
For those who wish to purchase graduation merchandise, the IU East Bookstore will be open before and after the Commencement Ceremony. You must wear your mask when entering Whitewater Hall.
Your COVID-19 testing requirements
To celebrate in person, you and all of your fellow graduates must have two negative COVID-19 tests recorded the week of your graduation ceremony, unless you qualify to skip the tests.
Your first test must be taken between May 8 - May 11, and your negative result submitted online by May 13, 5 p.m. You can do this at a local pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens, a local healthcare facility, Costco, or a mail-in testing site like Vault Health.
If you miss the first testing window, you won't be able to attend Commencement in person. (You can still join virtually!) Set up your appointment as soon as you can.
You’ll record your first negative result on this form. You must obtain a ticket before submitting to the self-report form.
You must take your second test on May 12 - 13 at Whitewater Hall, where parking is available in the Tom Raper parking lot and ADA parking is available at Whitewater Hall Circle, 2325 Chester Blvd., Richmond, IN 47374. You don’t need an appointment—just arrive during the hours of operation found at the Commencement website.
See if you qualify to skip the tests
You are fully vaccinated
If you received your final COVID-19 shot by Friday, April 30, 2021, you won’t be required to take the two tests as long as you upload your vaccination record asap.
Indiana University East will celebrate its 2020 and 2021 graduates during a ceremony to be held on May 14, 2021. While in-person commencement is limited to graduates only, friends and family are invited to attend virtually.
Graduates are invited to join virtually and celebrate from wherever they are.
If you're outside of the U.S., we welcome you and your loved ones to enjoy the celebration virtually. Should you wish to travel to the U.S. solely for the purpose of attending Commencement and you need to apply for a tourist visa, there are several important factors to consider:
Many U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide have been closed, or remain closed due to the pandemic. Because of that, visa wait times for tourists may be very long.
To apply for a tourist visa, we suggest that you carry evidence of your intention to attend Commencement (obtained on the IU commencement website by ordering a free ticket for the program), as well as standard documents required for a tourist visa (including, but not limited to your itinerary, evidence of financial support, documentation your residence abroad). The Consulate in your region will have further details.
Like all graduates, you will be subject to all vaccine or COVID-19 testing requirements.
All guests, including those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, are invited to celebrate Commencement virtually. The best way to ensure a safe, in-person Commencement celebration for our graduates is to operate within the same, controlled environment that has allowed IU to safely keep its campuses open since the fall.
Commencement is a cause for celebration, and we understand family and friends want to share in the excitement. Inviting guests to join virtually is the best way to allow a safe, in-person Commencement experience for our graduates.
The safety and well-being of the IU community led this decision. It was made in close consultation with our Medical Response Team, which has guided IU's successful COVID-19 response for the past year. CDC guidelines recommend people avoid travel because of the continued pandemic across the U.S. and globe. Each IU campus is making its Commencement plans in coordination with county health departments, and restrictions on events and gatherings vary based on community. IU has been able to successfully manage COVID-19 cases and avoid large outbreaks through routine testing on all of its campuses, allowing us to keep our campuses open safely while some other universities had to suspend classes. Limiting in-person ceremonies to graduates only allows IU to use its proven public health strategy to ensure a safe commencement celebration.
Even if infection rates in communities across Indiana decline, large gatherings on campuses increase the risk of infection for everyone. IU's campuses have been among the safest places in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic because of our robust mitigation testing program, which helps us quickly identify and address any increase in cases among students, faculty and staff. The best way to ensure a safe, in-person commencement celebration for our graduates is to operate within the same, controlled environment that has allowed IU to safely keep its campuses open since the fall.
Only graduates will be permitted to enter the Commencement venues. Tailgating, camping and accompanying graduates to the ceremony site is prohibited. To help ensure everyone's safety, travel to IU campuses by graduates' family and friends is strongly discouraged.
The only in-person Commencement activities will be the official campus ceremony for graduates. All other recognition events will be held virtually.
Families are invited to watch the ceremony live on IU's Commencement website. If guests are unable to watch the live stream, a recorded version of the ceremony will be available at the same site hours after the conclusion of each ceremony.
Planning ceremonies early in the day give us more flexibility in the event of severe weather.
IU makes all decisions in consultation with its Medical Response Team. In addition to limiting in-person ceremonies to only graduates, those who participate will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing. All IU public safety protocols, including wearing a mask and physically distancing, must be followed during Commencement.
All graduates who attend in-person Commencement, including those who've been vaccinated, must practice physical distancing and wear a mask. As with all vaccines, being vaccinated does not provide 100% perfect protection. Additionally, it is not yet known exactly how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. This means that even once you are vaccinated, you could still be capable of spreading the virus to others.
IU is continually monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, and all plans are subject to change based on the public health outlook in each community. The university is committed to keeping its campuses safe and will communicate directly with graduates if plans change.
All graduates must have two negative COVID-19 tests on file with the university in order to attend Commencement. The first required test must be completed within 3-6 days of your Commencement date and can be completed outside of IU, which you will then need to report to us. However, the second required test must be completed 1-2 days before your Commencement date and must be an IU saliva test at the campus in which you are attending Commencement. You will have these results back to you before the morning of your ceremony.
For the first test, past graduates who are not currently affiliated with Indiana University must seek a COVID-19 test themselves and submit their negative test results online. Past graduates may not test at an Indiana University mitigation site for the first test.
All graduates, regardless of affiliation, are required to provide a second test at their graduating campus’s mitigation site.
Faculty and staff participating in Commencement will follow the same testing protocols.
All graduates must have two negative COVID-19 tests on file with the university in order to attend Commencement. 2020 graduates and others who aren't in the vicinity of an IU testing location can submit a result from a non-IU lab for their first test, but must complete a negative test at an IU testing site the day before the Commencement ceremony. If you receive your first test from a non-IU lab, you must submit your result by the submission deadline. The window for completing each test at IU East is:
Test 1: May 8 - May 11
Submission Deadline: May 13, 5:00 p.m.
Test 2: May 12 - May 13
All currently enrolled students and active faculty and staff may schedule your first COVID-19 test through IU Mitigation Testing on campus. Select the voluntary asymptomatic testing option to schedule that test.
Mitigation testing at IU East is in the Whitewater Hall Lobby at 2325 Chester Blvd, Richmond, IN 47374 at the following dates and times:
Wednesday, May 12, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 13, 8-11 a.m.
Students who have submitted a sample or have scheduling questions regarding a sample should email C19@IU.EDU.
If your test result comes back as a positive sample, your ticket will be cancelled, and you will be invited to watch the live stream of your campus ceremony. Please be sure to follow all CDC guidance for individuals who test positive for COVID-19.
Consistent with IU's mitigation testing procedures, if you've reported your COVID-19 vaccination to IU and you receive your final dose at least two weeks prior to your graduation ceremony, you will be excluded from pre-Commencement COVID-19 testing. The vaccination deadline for the IU East Commencement Ceremony is Friday, April 30th.
Currently enrolled IU students, faculty, and staff should report their vaccination status through one.iu.edu and the COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Form found there.
Returning graduates planning to attend Commencement must confirm their vaccination status using a special form.
Everyone for whom the vaccines are currently authorized is now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana. The more people we get vaccinated, the better our chances of keeping everyone we love safe. Not to mention getting back to the things we love. COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection we have against the virus, so take your shot now.
If you have tested positive between 11-90 days out from the Commencement ceremony date, you can file an exemption (vaccine submission self-reporting form) for any tests. As long as the positive test comes at least 11 days before the Commencement ceremony date, you will still be allowed to attend Commencement.
We encourage graduates to reserve a ticket as soon as they know they plan to attend Commencement. Ticket reservations must be made at least seven days before your campus' ceremony.
All ceremonies are general admission and graduates will be directed to seats when they arrive. We are unable to guarantee a student may sit next to someone of his/her preference.
Master’s and undergraduate students at all campuses will be randomly assigned seats and will not be seated next to their school colleagues.
Your ticket indicates the time you are to arrive to the ceremony location.
Please visit go.iu.edu/tassel and reserve a ticket for your campus Commencement. For those graduating in Spring and Summer 2021, please check with your school recorder on your graduation status.
You will receive an email invitation to claim your ticket from Indiana University.
To ensure the health and safety of our campuses and communities, graduates are invited to attend Commencement in person, while guests can join the celebrations online. The ceremony will be streamed live on the Commencement website, and will also be available to watch after the event.
Online ordering is closed, however, you can still get a cap and gown the day of commencement from the Herff Jones representative at the Commencement venue. There will be a late fee. The only payment methods that will be accepted are cash and venmo.
All 2020 graduates who ordered and paid for official caps, tassels, gowns, hoods, and stoles will receive the complimentary use of gowns (and hoods if you earned a graduate degree) to wear at Commencement. Bring your cap, tassel (and stole if you earned an undergraduate degree). You will be contacted by Herff Jones before Commencement to arrange the use of complementary apparel.