Why are plans being changed?
Conditions have changed since Kenyon initially announced plans for Commencement in February. Notably, vaccine eligibility in Ohio and nationwide has expanded much faster than previously anticipated. Additionally, we listened to feedback from members of the senior class concerned about the timing of a celebratory event that would occur prior to final exams and the official conclusion of the semester. As a reminder, all plans are subject to change or cancellation in the event of worsening pandemic conditions.
What COVID-19 protocols will be in place to protect the health of the campus and community?
Our existing health protocols will remain in place, including physical distancing of at least six feet, hand hygiene and masks (individuals who have been vaccinated are not required to wear a mask when outdoors, including at the Commencement ceremony). Everyone present at Commencement will be expected to follow these protocols, regardless previous infection or other factors. We strongly encourage all guests to be vaccinated and/or tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to campus, and we ask all visitors to conduct a health assessment before arriving; details are on our website. As a reminder, plans and safety measures are subject to change depending on conditions.
How many guests may attend Commencement?
Each senior may invite a maximum of two people to campus to attend Commencement as guests as well as to assist them in moving out of their residences.
Upon completing the registration form, a confirmation email containing unique QR codes will be sent to the email address provided for each registered guest. Please bring a print out of that email or have it available on your phone for check-in at McBride Field. Tickets are non-transferrable, and photo ID may be required at check-in.
The registration form closes at 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 3, 2021.
Can more than two guests per student attend Commencement?
Unfortunately, no, due to space constraints, event logistics and COVID-19 safety precautions. The ceremony will be livestreamed so that additional friends and family may participate in the celebration virtually. It will also be available for later viewing.
May seniors who are studying remotely, or who graduated early, come to campus?
Yes. To promote the health and well-being of our community, seniors who have not been in residence this spring semester are not permitted to stay overnight in Kenyon residence halls. All seniors, regardless of spring residency, may invite a maximum of two guests.
Where will Commencement occur?
In order to accommodate the number of expected attendees with appropriate social distancing, the ceremony will be held outdoors on McBride Field. Because the event will be held on an athletic field, there is no shelter from the elements.
Although the walk from the check-in area to the seats is flat, the distance to some seats will be long. Accessible seats will be available for those who need them. Portable restroom facilities will be provided. The field is covered in synthetic turf. We kindly ask graduates and guests not to wear heels as they could damage the playing surface.
Parking will be provided free of charge in designated lots south of the Lowry Center. (Parking permits will not be necessary.) While the campus only has a limited number of accessible parking spots nearby, there is a drop-off zone in close proximity to the check-in area. If you plan to park in the Village, please keep the fire lanes clear and note the time limit for the spot.
Will Commencement still occur outdoors in the event of inclement weather?
Yes, due to event logistics and the need to maintain adequate ventilation to prevent potential spread of COVID-19, Commencement will occur outdoors rain or shine. Please prepare for a weather delay of up to two hours; if Kenyon does not send an alert about a weather delay, then the event will begin on time. In the event of severe weather that could pose a threat to participants’ safety, the event regrettably would be canceled.
Will guests be able to stay in on-campus housing? What dining options are available?
In order to promote health and well-being, we are not allowing guests — including family members, students studying remotely and those who graduated early — to stay overnight in our residence halls. A list of lodging options in the area is available here.
Complimentary boxed lunches will be provided directly following the ceremony. In order to maintain our COVID-19 protocols, the lunches will be served grab & go style, with no seating available. Kenyon does not use or serve nuts in any of our catering. We are pleased to offer four options that will accommodate gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan diets. Selections can be made on the registration form. Please note that in order to maintain our COVID-19 protocols, Peirce Hall will remain closed to guests.
I’m a Kenyon graduate. Can I participate in the traditional hooding ceremony for my student at Commencement?
Unfortunately, no. Given social distancing concerns, we will not be hooding graduates in the traditional manner. Graduates will receive a souvenir hood that they may keep.
Will there be a Commencement speaker?
This year’s Commencement will feature remarks from Senior Class President Hannah Petrich. Additionally, the Class of 2021 has voted on the faculty speaker for the event, and has selected J. Kenneth Smail Professor of Anthropology Edward Schortman.
When will graduates receive their diplomas?
Degrees will be conferred during the ceremony, and diplomas will be mailed over the summer.
Where will the livestream be available? Will a recording be available?
More details on the livestream will be announced as Commencement approaches. It will be available for anyone to watch live or as a recording.
Will formal Commencement programs be available?
A downloadable PDF version of the Commencement program will be available from the Commencement section of Kenyon’s website in the weeks following the ceremony. Printed programs will be mailed over the summer.
Will professional photos of seniors in regalia be available for purchase?
A professional photographer from GradImages will photograph each senior attending the on-campus event crossing the stage in their cap and gown. Proofs will be sent automatically to each student’s home address within approximately two weeks. If you pre-register by May 20 to receive your proofs by email, you will receive a coupon for 20% off an order of $50 or more. For additional information or questions please contact GradImages at 800-261-2576, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.gradimages.com.
Will class rings, graduation announcements and diploma frames be available for purchase?
Class rings, graduation announcements and other graduation products can be ordered directly from Jostens. All Kenyon graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. This information is needed when ordering announcements. Diploma frames will be available online for 20% off from April 1 through May 31 (with free shipping) from the Kenyon College Bookstore.