Why is the University of Redlands sponsoring virtual Commencement ceremonies instead of in-person ceremonies?
The University of Redlands is planning four virtual events on Commencement weekend, April 29-May 2, as well as a separate virtual event celebrating the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Class of 2020. All of those ceremonies are in production now, as well as Baccalaureate, Johnston Commencement, CAS Honors Convocation, Students of Color Celebration, and the Lavender Celebration.
The University preferred in-person commencements for spring 2021 and modeled Ted Runner Stadium as our venue to allow for distancing and other additional safety measures. Unfortunately, state and county guidance at the time of our decision, prevented us from hosting in-person ceremonies. When we thoroughly reviewed the restrictions of our county, San Bernardino, we could not find a way to make possible meaningful in-person ceremonies based on the guidance at the time of our decision. As of April 1, the guidance is still too restrictive. The U of R cannot host a large enough in-person “gathering” until we are in the yellow tier. Yellow allows for 25% of capacity with assigned seats, reservations, and regional attendees only within 120 miles. The planning for tier status is complicated by a requirement that we must meet the expectations of each tier for a minimum of three weeks before we can advance to a less restrictive tier. When we calculated the amount of time needed to be in the yellow tier by April 30—which would allow for 25% of our normal capacity—it did not seem likely we would qualify. Our decision to host virtual Commencements—reached after much debate and discussion across the campus—was the prudent choice so that we could effectively plan to include all our students in virtual Commencement ceremonies and communicate the process for doing so to them ahead of time.
When does the virtual Commencement take place?
The dates and times of the Commencements are posted on the Commencement 2021 webpage.
How can I prepare for the Commencement?
Graduates can upload photographs to Full Measure for the videos. Regalia is not required; however, graduates can rent or buy regalia, sashes, diploma frames, and other Redlands-themed products:
• Cap, gown, & tassel: www.cbgrad.com. Students will need to select "University of Redlands" to be directed to the campus ordering page.
• Sashes: Most sashes are available for purchase through the bookstore, in-store or online at https://redlands.bncollege.com/shop/redlands/products/gifts-accessories/graduation/regalia?parentSubCatIdFlag=true
• Alumni Gifts: Available for purchase through the bookstore, in-store or online. https://redlands.bncollege.com/shop/redlands/collections/gifts-for-the-alumni?topCatId=40510
What should graduates expect from the virtual Commencement?
Virtual Commencement is a video production, somewhat like the Grammys. President Ralph W. Kuncl will deliver welcome remarks, Provost Kathy Ogren will have faculty announcements, and University Chaplain John Walsh will give an invocation and benediction. After School and College deans and class student speakers give their speeches, the presentation of graduate slides with submitted content will begin.
Recommended Photo Opportunities
The following locations are open during Commencement weekend for photo opportunities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, May 2:
• Redlands Sign at Ann Peppers Gallery Lawn
• Administration Building Steps and facing north
• Deacon Bulldog Statue
• Memorial Chapel Steps
• Alumni Greek Theatre
Sanitizing products will be provided at these locations during these scheduled photo op dates. They are subject to existing U of R protocols for daily health self-assessment through the Redlands App, weekly COVID-19 testing, physical distancing, and face coverings.
Take your picture with Addie during Commencement weekend!
Our mascot, Addie, will be available for pictures from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at these locations on the following dates:
April 29: Redlands Sign at Ann Peppers Gallery Lawn
April 30: Administration Building
May 1: Deacon Bulldog Statue
May 2: Alumni Greek Theater
Please keep your visits short to accommodate all guests, and follow our health and safety protocols for physical distancing and face coverings. The University is also adhering to the California Department of Public Health guidance published in February 2021, which states that only three households are permitted per gathering, including all guests and the host.
Please do not bring glitter, confetti, alcohol, or glass.
Gradboxes, diplomas and diploma covers, and programs
Each graduate will receive a graduation box as a gift from the University. These boxes will be shipped prior to Commencement and contain diploma covers and other U of R-themed gifts. Please ensure your mailing address is up to date; students with active Redlands accounts can update address information on their Student Planning Portal (SPS). Students without active Redlands accounts can update address information by going to: https://www.redlands.edu/alumni/updateyourinformation/. Official diplomas will be issued separately, following the Commencements and affirmation of degree completion. Commencement event program guides will be posted online before the ceremonies. Graduates will have an opportunity to request one printed program, which will be mailed after Commencement. Details on making the request will be available soon.
What additional celebrations or events are planned in the College and Schools of Business and Education?
Your dean or department/program chair will notify you of any pre-Commencement events, for example, the School of Business virtual mixers. Please contact these offices for more information.
Information on events sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Redlands (ASUR) will be available on the ASUR website.