Class of 2021: Important details for participating in-person at Commencement

Good afternoon, Class of 2021 graduates, 

We are very excited to celebrate you and all of your accomplishments during your in-person Commencement ceremonies in May. As you know, Washington University is continuing to practice a variety of protocols to ensure everyone remains safe. In addition, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines for all Commencement exercises. 

Graduate Arrival Timing
All graduates will begin checking in for their designated ceremony 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Please plan accordingly to allow enough time to park and walk to Mudd Field for check-in. Graduates will receive confirmation emails the week of their ceremony.

*Please note that this does not account for graduates who have indicated that they are participating in the university’s professional photography sessions, some of which will take place prior to check-in.  

Thirty minutes prior to ceremony start time, graduates will arrive and check-in on Mudd Field. University volunteer ambassadors will be there to assist graduates with check-in and processional line-up. 

Seating will be divided into two sections—graduates and registered guests—with graduates being placed closest to the stage on Francis Olympic Field. Guest seating will be located behind the graduate area. There will be physically distant single seats and seating in pairs available for all guests. 

Guest Arrival Timing and IDs (We will be unable to allow guests to enter without their ticket.)
Registered guests are welcome to arrive at Francis Olympic Field 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony they are attending. We will not be permitting early entrance due to safety protocols and sanitation. Guests will need to provide a form of identification, an approved wellness screening, and their ticket in order to be allowed onto the field. It is up to you, the graduate, to send tickets to your guests via the Marching Order platform. As a reminder, you may access the registration site and email your guest tickets by logging in with your WUSTL key and password. If you have a name change for a registered ticket holder, please email us at by April 30. 

Graduates who indicated that they would like to have a professional photo taken will need to arrive at their assigned photo station during the permitted time indicated in their photography confirmation email. Each graduate will have three minutes to have their photo taken. There will be no cost for the graduates for this professional photography. Photographs will be available for download via an online portal. As a reminder, the campus visitor policy applies to all days leading up to, including, and following your Commencement ceremony. The photography appointment will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will be sent in our April 19 communication. 

Parking locations will be assigned in order to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize the number of people entering and exiting in one location. Your assigned parking garage and its location will be included in the confirmation email you receive the week of your ceremony. 

Virtual Plans
All ceremonies will be livestreamed, recorded, and available on the Commencement website. If you registered to attend a ceremony virtually, please stay tuned for additional details in a separate email. 

Help Celebrate Our Graduates 
Parents, faculty, staff, and friends are encouraged to submit congratulatory messages to our graduates of the Class of 2021 through April 24. Photos and videos will be shared with graduates in Commencement-related communications and displayed during the in-person and live stream ceremonies. We will accept general and specific call-outs to students.

Visit our FAQ page for more information. 

Lastly, if you no longer plan to attend Commencement in-person, please let us know at Also, please remember to share any changes to your guest list with us by April 30. 

Kindest regards,

Michelle Gelven