University of Wisconsin–Madison

Spring Commencement Update: March 11, 2021

Dear Badger Parents and Families,

Congratulations on your student’s upcoming graduation from one of the world’s top universities! I am writing to share some news about spring commencement.

We are moving forward with plans for two in-person, outdoor ceremonies at Camp Randall stadium on May 8 for the Class of 2021 — one for undergraduates, the other for our graduate and professional students. We are excited to offer our outstanding new graduates the opportunity to celebrate in person barring any resurgence of COVID-19 that would require us to revert to a fully virtual ceremony.

To keep everyone safe, we will need to limit attendance to graduates only. This is necessary because when allowing for six feet of physical distancing, even a venue as large as Camp Randall cannot accommodate both graduates and guests. Also, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises no travel in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

We considered many options to try to provide a ceremony for students and families, but we were unable to do so for logistical and safety reasons. We will be livestreaming the ceremonies so that families, friends and graduates who aren’t able to attend will be able to watch along with us.

This was a difficult decision and I know many of you were hoping to be in Camp Randall this spring with your graduate. We solicited feedback from graduating seniors and while, ideally, they wish everyone could come together, they were willing to make the choices necessary to have an in-person graduation. I hope you can understand that we are motivated, as always, by the health and safety of our community and striving to offer our students the fullest experience possible. Commencement at Camp Randall is a cherished tradition; I’m excited that we will be able to bring our graduates together for this memorable occasion.

While we cannot safely bring you to Camp Randall, we are working on creative ways to bring Camp Randall to you. We are exploring options to actively engage our graduates’ families and we’ll update you as we know more. And the live feed will be available to all.

I know you may have many questions. Your student will soon receive more information about the ceremony. It will include wonderful commencement traditions and a few changes to comply with public safety rules. They’ll need to show a green Badger Badge (part of our Safer Badgers app, which affirms that they’ve had a recent negative COVID test) – and will be physically distanced and wearing face coverings.

You can find more information and FAQs at commencement.wisc.edu.

This has been a year when we’ve asked much of our students and their parents and families. I want you to know how much I have appreciated your support and how proud I am of the Class of 2021.

Thank you and On, Wisconsin!

Rebecca M. Blank, Chancellor