Student at 2020 graduation

UR gears up for return to in-person commencement

April 6, 2021

University News

While it will look different than any other commencement weekend in history, the University of Richmond has announced plans to hold in-person ceremonies for graduates next month.

Graduates can invite two guests to attend their school-specific ceremonies. Numerous COVID-safety precautions — including wearing masks and physical distancing — will be in place, and all guests will be ticketed in advance. The University will also provide a virtual option.

These plans are in accordance with state guidelines, issued by the Virginia governor in March. A commencement committee of about 40 people from all schools and numerous departments across campus assisted with the planning.

“We are thrilled the governor’s guidelines will permit us to celebrate your graduation in person next month and will remain in contact with relevant updates as we work toward making possible this very special weekend,” wrote President Ronald A. Crutcher in a message shared with graduates.


It feels especially symbolic to be able to celebrate this milestone in the same place, together.
Alicia Engels

Events manager

Events manager Alicia Engels is leading the team planning the ceremonies. “We have worked diligently to develop a plan based on the state guidance that both safeguards our campus community and provides graduates an opportunity to celebrate an in-person commencement,” Engels said. “After over a year of being physically distant from everyone, it feels especially symbolic to be able to celebrate this milestone in the same place, together.”

Undergrads and students in the law, MBA, and School of Professional & Continuing Studies programs, along with their guests, will meet in the Robins Center or Robins Stadium. Compliance with state guidelines requires that all attendees be seated 10 feet apart.

To eliminate close contact among graduates and faculty and staff in attendance, graduate seating will be assigned in advance in three-person groups —  graduates and their two guests. Each graduate’s name will be read aloud during their school-specific ceremony, and they will be invited to stand at their seat to be recognized.

“I’m really proud that we are able to have students and their support systems here on campus to celebrate their amazing achievements,” Engels said. “It’s been a long and difficult year for everyone, and this feels like a light at the end of a long tunnel. This year has been different, and commencement will be different. But I believe it will be a really wonderful celebration for our graduates.”

The complete schedule of commencement ceremonies, as well as location information and additional details can be found at

Commencement speakers for each ceremony will be announced soon.