Fall Commencement Planning | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
UNW Covid-19 Information

Fall Commencement Planning

The below information is for all fall 2021 planned graduates, which also includes summer 2021 School of Nursing planned graduates and summer 2021 Adult Undergraduate, Graduate Studies, and Dual Enrollment planned graduates. Students planning to be considered for December commencement must have all academic requirements met by the end of fall semester 2021.

Diverse students at graduation

Commencement Livestream

Graduates and guests who cannot attend commencement in person are invited to join us via livestream

Recent commencement ceremonies are available for viewing in the ceremony archive.

Fall Commencement Schedule of Events:

Date/ Time Commencement Activity
Friday, December 17, 2021
1:15-2:30 p.m.Commencement rehearsal in Knight Performance Hall for all participating graduates
3:15 p.m.Participating graduates assemble in regalia in Nazareth Hall, 2nd floor
4-5:30 p.m.Commencement ceremony in Knight Performance Hall
5:30–6:30 p.m.Commencement reception in Billy Graham Community Life Commons

Regalia: Caps, Gowns, and Hoods

  • Beginning in late September, planned graduates order caps and gowns (and hoods for master's degree students) online.
  • Caps and gowns (and hoods for master's degree students) must be ordered by no later than Sunday, October 24.
  • Regalia will be distributed in the Nazareth Great Room at Grad Expo on Tuesday, December 7 (details below).
  • Regalia must be returned to room G210 in the Billy Graham Community Life Commons following the commencement ceremony. Graduates may keep their cap and tassel.

Commencement Tickets

  • Tickets are required for guests attending commencement in Knight Performance Hall.
  • The number of tickets provided to each planned graduate is based on the total number of commencement participants.
  • Each participating graduate will receive 7 (seven) tickets.
  • Tickets will be distributed to participating planned graduates at Grad Expo on Tuesday, December 7 (see below for details).
  • Overflow viewing on monitors will be available in the Totino Fine Arts Center lobby. Tickets are not required for overflow viewing.

Guests and/or Graduates with Accessibility Needs

  • For guests and/or graduates attending commencement who have accessibility needs (e.g., wheelchair/ADA, hearing impaired or interpreter/translation requests, etc.), please submit a request form by no later than Thursday, December 2.

Lodging for Guests

  • Some hotels in the local area may offer reduced rates for those who indicate they are coming to the local area to attend graduation at University of Northwestern.

COVID-19 Information

  • UNW continues to monitor COVID-19 transmission levels on campus and in our surrounding area. Commencement ceremony details are subject to modification should increased risks be identified. Planned graduates will be notified of any changes via email, and this page will also be updated accordingly.
  • Current COVID-19 mitigation protocols:
    • Face coverings are encouraged indoors when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained
    • Stay home if ill
    • Wash hands frequently

Professional Photographers

  • Each graduate will be photographed as diploma covers are presented and at a posed location at the side of the stage.
  • After commencement, graduates will be given the opportunity to purchase pictures directly from our professional photographer.


  • Diplomas will be mailed beginning in late January.
  • Diplomas are sent after graduates have fulfilled all degree requirements and resolved any student account holds. (This includes paying the graduation fee charged to the graduate's account the last term the graduate registers (undergraduate: $75; graduate: $100).
  • (Note: Diploma lists degree only. Transcript lists degree, major[s], and any minor[s].

Desktop Diploma

A Uploma provides another way to display a college degree. This desktop diploma is completely customizable to fit any major, achievements, graduation year, and school pride. You may order your Uploma online.

Grad Expo

Adult Undergraduate, Graduate Studies, and Dual Enrollment students: For summer 2021 and fall 2021 planned graduates.

Traditional Undergraduate students: For fall 2021 planned graduates and summer 2021 School of Nursing planned graduates.

Grad Expo will take place in the Nazareth Great Room on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 2–6 p.m. Grad Expo is an event that provides a "one-stop" opportunity for planned graduates to clear from campus as well as to receive tickets and regalia for planned graduates participating in commencement. Students planning to graduate will receive an e-mail invitation prior to the event.


Adult Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Students: 866-492-7877 or 651-628-3400; AGS@unwsp.edu

Dual Enrollment Students: 888-216-0069 or 651-631-5300; DE@unwsp.edu

Traditional Undergraduate Students: 800-692-4020, ext. 5119; or 651-631-5119; Registrar@unwsp.edu

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