Please check back regularly as we continue to answer more frequently asked questions related to commencement.

Attendance Requirements

Will all attendees be required to have a COVID test to attend? 
No. The college will not require attendees to be tested before attending; however, we encourage everyone to be diligent in the days ahead with mask wearing and social distancing. 

Will all attendees be required to wear a mask?
Yes. Please keep your face mask on while entering and walking around, but you are permitted to remove your mask when you are seated during the ceremony.

Will the college conduct temperature checks?
No. Our medical team does not advise temperature checks on site as an effective measure for detecting COVID.

How many guests will be allowed to attend the ceremony? 
Each senior may invite up to two guests.

Do attendees need a ticket to attend commencement? 
Yes. No one will be admitted to Richardson Stadium for graduation without a ticket. All tickets are for general seating that will be filled first-come-first-served. Each ticket will be checked at the entrances to the stadium.

When will the commencement ceremonies be held?
The college will celebrate the Class of 2021 at a single commencement ceremony, May 11, 2021, at Richardson Stadium. Gates to Richardson Stadium will open at 9 a.m. Guests should be in their seats by 9:45 a.m. Procession begins at 9:45 a.m., and ceremony starts at 10 a.m.

What if it rains?
We do not have a rain location--we may have a rain delay in the case of lighting. Communication about delays will be posted on the website. Please dress appropriately.

Will seniors who have studied remotely this year be able to attend commencement on campus?
Students learning remotely are welcome to return to campus for commencement. More information will be shared with them about requirements for arrival.

Will professors be able to attend commencement? 
Yes. Faculty are invited to attend, although the number of faculty may be limited.

Will other students (non-seniors) be able to attend commencement?
Under the current state guidelines, we are only able to accommodate seniors and guests with tickets along with a limited number of faculty.

Will staff be able to attend commencement?
Under the current state guidelines, we are only able to accommodate seniors and guests with tickets along with a limited number of faculty.

Will members of the Davidson community be able to attend commencement?
Under the current state guidelines, we are only able to accommodate seniors and guests with tickets along with a limited number of faculty.

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Tickets, Parking, and Hotels

How do I get tickets and how many can I have?
Each graduate will receive 2 guest tickets. Seniors received a separate email that included a registration link to claim their guest tickets. Registrations were due April 13, but because of the ceremony time change we have extended the due date to claim your tickets to April 21. Please claim your tickets now to ensure your guests have their seats. If you have lost the link to claim the tickets please email commencement21@davidson.edu.

Are tickets required to attend the ceremony?
Tickets will be required for all guests to attend. 

What if my ticket was for the 2 p.m. ceremony?
The tickets you have registered for will be honored at the 10 a.m. ceremony, regardless of whether the tickets have 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. printed on them. 

Will the ceremony be streamed live and online for guests who cannot attend? 
Yes. A livestream will be active 15 minutes prior to the ceremony on a dedicated livestream webpage.

Where should I park for the ceremony?
Parking information will be provided closer to the event.

Are there hotel blocks available?
Yes. The college has reserved blocks of rooms at several area hotels

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Decision Making

Why is there only one ceremony now instead of two?
When the governor updated North Carolina COVID orders at the end of March, the planning team began to explore the feasibility of altering commencement plans. We polled all seniors, asking whether they would prefer one ceremony with two guests or two ceremonies with three guests. Of the 318 responses to the poll, 64.5% of respondents chose the one ceremony, two guest option.  

Why has the original date changed for commencement?
The date was chosen to keep it close to the end of final exams and reduce the risks associated with students leaving campus and, then, returning. This decision was based on our experience with travel serving as a major source of COVID cases on campus and in consultation with the medical advisors who have been guiding the college’s approach to student and employee health and safety throughout the pandemic.

Did Davidson consider if students can be vaccinated before the end of the semester and how it might impact planning? 
Yes. On March 2, the NC Governor announced that Group 4 would be eligible for vaccines beginning March 24. While this group includes college students, they will not  be prioritized or included in the initial start of Group 4. We are not mandating vaccinations; therefore, we cannot guarantee enough students will have been vaccinated in time to ensure a safe gathering for them or for all guests. 

Will the college change plans if we achieve herd immunity by May?
No. The date will not change due to necessary deadlines for resources and planning. If the state of North Carolina loosens restrictions again, then the number of guests could increase.

Will there be a rain plan on commencement day?
Under the current state guidelines, we are unable to provide a rain plan due to COVID restrictions for indoor facilities. We will hold commencement, rain or shine. We recommend guests bring ponchos in the event of rain. Umbrellas will not be permitted. We will follow the college’s standard safety protocol for severe weather.

How were decisions made about commencement? 
The college established a design team composed of staff, faculty, and students to understand the senior class priorities for commencement and model all possible scenarios. That team did discovery work over two months to define desirability and feasibility. Nearly half the senior class responded to our survey, with an overwhelming desire for in-person commencement this May to include family/guests in attendance (#1 priority) and the ability to graduate with as many fellow classmates as possible (#2 priority). We balanced these priorities with the need to protect the health of all attendees along with family desires for information and the required planning deadlines to line up resources for the event. 

Who was a part of the commencement planning team? 

  • Deen Haleem ‘21, Senior Class President 

  • Brandon Harris ‘22, SGA President 

  • Eleni Tsitinidi ‘21

  • Daniel Thomas ‘21

  • Patrick Danielson ‘21

  • Ben Yokoyama ‘21

  • Jake Carver ‘21

  • Dr. Robert Lutz, COVID Medical Advisor

  • Beth Adams, COVID Project Manager

  • David Holthouser, Director of Facilities and Engineering

  • Rick Leichman, CAD Systems Operator

  • Jim Nash, Technical Director

  • Judith Rowles, Associate Director of Alumni and Family Engagement

  • Lisa Patterson, Director of Communications

  • Jessica Olson, Director of Special Events

  • Angie Dewberry, Registrar and Director of Advising

  • Dr. Suzanne Churchill, Professor of English 

  • Dr. Tim Chartier, Professor of Mathematics 

  • Kristen Eshleman, Director of Innovation Initiatives

  • Sarah Phillips, Vice President and General Counsel 

  • Carol Quillen, President

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Contact Us

If I need an accommodation, who do I email?
Please send all questions about accommodation needs to commencement21@davidson.edu

Who do I reach out to with general questions?
Please send all questions about commencement to commencement21@davidson.edu.

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