Class of 2021 Information & Updates

Dear Denison Class of 2021 and Denison family members,

I want to share with you some good news and additional information about our 2021 Commencement plans. We are delighted to officially announce the Class of 2021 Commencement will take place in-person on Saturday, May 22, 2021, subject to current conditions and recommendations from the State of Ohio. I want to thank all the students and parents who have helped us develop our current plans.

Commencement will be outdoors. The Class of 2021 will rekindle a Denison tradition of holding Commencement on the Academic Quad. 

Two guests will be permitted per student. We have received approval of our plans for an in-person commencement from the Licking County Health Department, based on required physical distancing protocol. Each student may invite up to two guests to the ceremony. I realize this is difficult. But it is necessary if we want to manage health and safety. Thank you in advance for your understanding. 

The event will be ticketed. We are preparing a process for students to register their guests. Once guests have been registered, they will receive an email acknowledgment and students will pick up their tickets on campus prior to Commencement. Tickets are not transferable. They will be checked at entry points. 

Commencement will be livestreamed. As in years past, we will livestream Commencement so every family member and friend can participate in this special moment virtually. Please bear in mind that our cameras will share the best views so that friends and extended family can enjoy Commencement from the comfort of their own home.

COVID-19 protocols will be in place and distancing will be required. While we certainly hope that COVID rates will continue their national downward trend, we will continue to maintain health and safety practices on campus. Seating for Commencement on the Academic Quad will be set up as follows: Students will be three feet apart. Guest chairs will be in pairs with three feet between pairs. Again, we will reevaluate these plans as we get closer to Commencement and will follow the advice of the public health professionals who have been guiding us.

Masks will be required for the duration of the Commencement event and at all times indoors and also outdoors whenever six feet of distance cannot be consistently maintained. This includes people who have been fortunate enough to receive a vaccination. Thank you in advance for your respect for our safety protocols.  

Please be prepared for inclement weather. Commencement will be held outdoors regardless of weather conditions (barring an emergency situation). Audience members should be prepared for Ohio weather in May, which can range from warm sunshine to cool rain. The Class of 2021 will be provided appropriate rain gear, if needed, during the ceremony.

Accommodations in the local area: Here is a list of area accommodations you may find useful.

Cap and Gown Information: Distribution of caps and gowns will begin Monday, April 12. Remote-learning students returning to campus will be able to pick up their cap and gown until 10 am on Saturday, May 22, (the day of Commencement) at the Denison University Bookstore in Slayter Student Union.

Remote Students Returning to Campus: Remote learners who are deemed eligible by the Registrar’s Office to participate in Denison’s 2021 Commencement Ceremony are also eligible to return to campus housing Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 4:00 PM through Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM. 

Students who qualify for this accommodation will receive an email from with an application for housing. This email will be sent on Thursday, April 1, and the RSVP is due by Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Move-Out Information: We recommend students pack their belongings in advance so that Commencement Day and its festivities can be enjoyed fully! Dumpsters and donation pods will be available near senior communities to make the process fast and easy.

All graduating students must depart housing and return keys by 7PM ET on Saturday, May 22, 2021 so we may begin preparing rooms for summer housing.

The Denison Bookstore will be open from 8 am to 3 pm.

Please note that based on current guidelines, all Commencement-related events on campus will have limited capacity. We strongly recommend that only two guests travel to campus. We encourage families to invite all family and friends to watch Commencement via livestream and to plan larger family and friend celebrations at home.

We are still making plans for Baccalaureate, the Senior Send-off (senior week), Senior Soiree, and other ways to recognize and celebrate the amazing Class of 2021, and we will share event details with you as they become available. We want these events to be special and COVID safe.

Thank you to the students, families, and campus partners who have worked so hard to make an in-person Commencement celebration possible during such extraordinary times. Our seniors have worked hard to get to Commencement and we want to celebrate them and their accomplishments. While COVID makes this harder, we are fully committed to making this the great graduation they deserve. We will continue to remain agile and responsive as the COVID-landscape changes and will continue to evolve our plans as guidance from state and local officials evolves.  

I will continue to communicate with you regularly as processes and details become more clear. Up-to-date information also will be available at

If you have any questions please feel free to write to I look forward to greeting all of you on May 22! 

On behalf of the Commencement Committee,
Raj Bellani

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