This year’s commencement at Pitt’s campuses will be a combination of in-person, virtual and drive-through ceremonies.
On the Pittsburgh campuses, each school will have its own ceremony, and there will be no mass gathering for undergraduates at the Petersen Events Center. But all undergraduates will have an opportunity for an in-person experience, while some graduate programs have opted to stay virtual.
For those planning in-person ceremonies, a maximum of two guests per graduate will be permitted. All ceremonies will be streamed online to encourage families and friends to watch virtually.
Those attending in person will be required to wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines.
“With the proper health and safety protocols in place, including face coverings, physical distancing and good hand hygiene, the COVID-19 Medical Response Office is confident that in-person ceremonies present minimal risk,” the University’s announcement said.
All in-person ceremonies are contingent on the state of the virus. Students and families should remain highly flexible in their planning.
Last year, Pitt hosted an online event on April 26 for all 8,000 Oakland-campus graduates at all levels. Last week’s announcement said the University is hoping to host an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020 during Homecoming weekend this fall, Sept. 24 to 26, 2021.
The spring term officially ends on May 1, and residence halls close on May 2, except for graduating seniors.
The tentative schedule is below; location details are still being finalized. For the most up-to-date information, check commencement.pitt.edu.
School of Pharmacy undergraduate, graduate and professional students
School of Nursing undergraduate, graduate and professional students
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (virtual ceremony)
Graduate School of Public Health (virtual ceremony)
School of Computing and Information undergraduate students
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences undergraduate, graduate and professional students
School of Education undergraduate, graduate and professional students
School of Social Work undergraduate
School of Social Work graduate and professional students (format TBD)
College of Business Administration
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
Swanson School of Engineering undergraduate, graduate and professional students
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students and College of General Studies students
School of Law
School of Computing and Information graduate and professional students (virtual ceremony)
School of Dental Medicine undergraduate, graduate and professional students
School of Medicine
Bradford: The Bradford campus will host a drive-through ceremony at noon May 2 that will allow students to wear their caps and gowns, walk across the stage, and pose for a picture while family members look on from their vehicles. Members of the faculty and staff, dressed in their regalia, will stand along the route to cheer graduates before they reach the staging area. Each student will receive a small gift from the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association. Additionally, 2020 graduates who were unable to attend an in-person graduation due to the pandemic will be invited to return. The outdoor event will be held rain or shine.
Titusville: The Titusville campus will host a drive-through ceremony at noon May 1 that will allow students to wear their caps and gowns, walk across the stage, and pose for a picture while family members look on from their vehicles. Members of the faculty and staff, dressed in their regalia, will stand along the route to cheer graduates before they reach the staging area. Additionally, 2020 graduates who were unable to attend an in-person graduation due to the pandemic will be invited to return. The outdoor event will be held rain or shine.
Greensburg: Pitt–Greenburg will host a drive-through commencement ceremony for its 2021 and 2020 graduates. Details are being finalized. Save the dates for May 1 and 2 and watch for additional information on the school’s commencement webpage. Each graduate will be limited to one vehicle at the event, and guests may accompany the graduate in the vehicle. The degree-granting portion of the ceremony will include the opportunity for each graduate to be individually recognized as they receive their diploma cover and are congratulated by President Robert Gregerson and others and have their official graduation picture taken. The event will be streamed online to allow families and friends to watch virtually. Anyone attending the ceremony will be required to wear a face covering.
Johnstown: There are two plans in place for indoor and outdoor ceremonies for Pitt–Johnstown students. The first option includes two outdoor ceremonies on May 1 at Richland High School Football Field, with Engineering & Computer Science, Natural Sciences and Nursing & Health Sciences at 11 a.m. and Business & Enterprise, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences at 3 p.m. Each graduate would receive three guest tickets for the outdoor ceremonies.
The second option is for three indoor ceremonies on May 1 and 2 at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center. For these events, each graduate would receive two guest tickets.
11 a.m. May 1: Education, Natural Sciences and Nursing & Health Sciences
3 p.m. May 1: Business & Enterprise, Social Sciences and Humanities
2 p.m. May 2: Engineering & Computer Science
The decision on which option will occur will be made by noon April 29 and communicated to all graduates. All attendees, graduates and guests, must wear a face covering and practice good physical distancing at the Commencement ceremony. All ceremonies will be livestreamed. More information will be directly communicated to graduates and also updated on the Commencement 2021 website.
Pitt–Johnstown also is planning a recognition ceremony of 2020 graduates during the fall 2021 Homecoming activities.
— Susan Jones
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