Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 18, 2021

Lawrence University will host an in-person, outdoor Commencement ceremony for our graduating seniors in the Banta Bowl on Sunday, June 13, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.

The following FAQs provide additional details about this year’s Commencement ceremony. Just like most of the events of the last year, Commencement 2021 will look a bit different than years past, designed to ensure the health and safety of all participants while also celebrating this important milestone for our graduates and their families.

Please check this FAQ and the main Commencement web page regularly, as new information will be posted as it becomes available. If you need additional information or have a specific question that is not answered below, please email

Why was the Banta Bowl chosen as the venue instead of Main Hall Green?
Protecting the health and safety of the Lawrence community has been the university’s top priority since the start of the pandemic a year ago. When we explored our traditional Commencement venue, Main Hall Green, we realized that it would not be possible to host a ceremony that followed our safety protocols and provided a unified experience for all graduates. In addition, Main Hall Green is not large enough to accommodate both graduates and guests. Thanks to its size, amenities like bleachers and restroom facilities, and its technical infrastructure, the Banta Bowl provided us with a safe venue that could accommodate all graduates and their guests. 

If I am unable to return to campus for Commencement, how will I be included in the ceremony?
The names of all graduating seniors, including those who are not in attendance, will be read and recognized during the ceremony.

Will faculty and other campus personnel be able to participate in the ceremony?
We are currently assessing the capacity of the Banta Bowl regarding additional participants in the ceremony including faculty and will provide more information about additional participants in the coming weeks.

What will this year’s ceremony include? 
We are planning for the ceremony to follow our traditional Commencement program: speakers, honorary degrees, and the opportunity for each senior to walk across the stage, hear their name called, and celebrate this moment of transition and accomplishment in community with their class.

What will a virtual ceremony look like if we need to cancel the in-person event?

We are currently finalizing plans for a virtual ceremony. Regardless of format, the core elements will be there – Senior Class speaker, Commencement speaker, and the reading of each graduate’s name.

Will I receive my diploma at Commencement?
Graduates will not receive their diploma at Commencement. Digital diplomas will be emailed to graduates during the week after the formal ceremony, and a paper diploma will be mailed to graduates in early July. Graduates will receive a diploma cover during the formal ceremony.

Will tickets or registration be required for guests?
Each graduating senior will receive two tickets for guests. Tickets will be distributed to students early in spring term and will be needed for entrance into the Banta Bowl. Students will not need to register the two guests attending Commencement through the current Guest Registration system.

What safety protocols will guests need to follow during the ceremony?
All individuals in attendance at Commencement will be expected to follow all university health and safety protocols and Honor the Pledge. Please note that masks will be required for all in attendance at the Banta Bowl. Lawrence will require all students participating in the in-person Commencement ceremony to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 at least 2 weeks prior the ceremony. Read more about health and safety protocols for Commencement.

Ticket holders are asked to sit with members of their individual group in designated areas, wear a mask at all times, and remain at least 6 feet away from individuals outside of their group or seating area. 

What if it rains? Will there be an indoor venue?
Commencement will take place at the Banta Bowl rain or shine. The ceremony may be delayed due to inclement weather.

When will I be able to order my regalia?
All regalia, including caps, gowns, and tassels, will be provided to graduating seniors by the Lawrence University Alumni Association (LUAA).  Information regarding regalia will be available early in spring term.

How will students be transported to the Banta Bowl?
Campus will offer shuttles to take seniors from campus to the Banta Bowl. Parking will be available at the Banta Bowl and in the surrounding area for guests. More specific details will be provided closer to Commencement.

What safety protocols will I need to follow if I am studying remotely this term and decide to return to campus for Commencement? 
Proof of vaccine or negative test will be required for graduates to participate in the ceremony. Please note that the university will not be able to provide on-campus testing. Additional details regarding the process will be shared in the coming weeks. 

What housing options will be available for seniors returning to campus for Commencement activities?
Graduating seniors not living on campus spring term and their guests will need to arrange their own lodging for Commencement weekend.  More information regarding lodging can be found at

When will graduating seniors need to be out of residence halls? 
Graduating seniors should complete their move out of campus housing by 6pm on Sunday, June 13.  Additional details will be shared with seniors by Residential Education later in Spring Term.

Do guests need to show proof of vaccine or test to attend the ceremony?

No, as guest interactions with graduates or individuals outside of their family or group will be limited. All guests should follow the university’s health and safety protocols as outlined in the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge. 

Will campus be open to students and guests over the weekend?
Due to the pandemic, campus will not be open as it is during a traditional Commencement weekend. In addition, access to on-campus food services and public venues, such as Wriston Art Gallery, Mudd Library, and Warch Campus Center, may be limited. Additional details will be shared with the community and posted on the Commencement web page as they are announced. 

What transportation options are available to individuals who will be traveling to Appleton by plane or other means? 
Individuals who will travel to Appleton via plan or other public transportation should plan to make personal arrangements for transportation to and from campus. The following rental car companies are available at the Appleton airport: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National. Local taxi service is available from the following companies: Fox Valley Cab (920-734-4545) and A Cab Neenah Menasha (920 809-5995).

Will graduates’ honors be recognized? 
As in year’s past, honors will be recognized in the Commencement program and on individual diplomas and transcripts. 

Will graduates receive cords? 
While the university does not provide cords or stoles, these items may be provided by individual Honor Societies, other student groups or organizations symbolizing their membership or achievements.