University of Michigan’s Spring Commencement will stay virtual this year

Celebrations stay online for second year due to COVID-19 pandemic

Credit: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Flickr)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has announced that its Spring Commencement will take place virtually on May 1 at noon.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the decision was made to keep the ceremony online for a second year.

During a normal year, Michigan Stadium would be bustling with graduates, their friends and family. Now, it is being utilized by Michigan Medicine to vaccinate thousands of people against COVID-19.

“We very much wish that we could hold a safe Commencement in Michigan Stadium, along with the many other celebration activities that are a fundamental part of our community life and traditions,” U-M President Mark Schlissel wrote in a letter to the campus community.

“We still do not know what public health measures will need to be in place in May to hold events like commencement. Currently, we remain under prudent restrictions on gathering sizes, and it’s impossible to predict factors such as infection and vaccination rates, travel guidelines and when state and local limits on gatherings may change.”

All students at the university are under a stay-at-home recommendation through Sunday after an outbreak of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was discovered on campus. All athletics were also paused for two weeks over the positive cases.

Students’ individual names will not be read during the virtual event and diplomas will be mailed to their permanent residences.

Additionally, President Schlissel announced that any graduates who missed an in-person commencement due to COVID-19 are invited to participate in any commencement ceremony of their choosing in the future.

A keynote speaker has yet to be announced.

For more information on commencement, including a series of FAQs, visit

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.