From the Provost: 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

February 4, 2021

To:  University Community
From:  Kathy Ogren, Provost 
Subject:  2021 Commencement Ceremonies 

The University of Redlands holds Commencement as a time-honored tradition, one that brings our community together to celebrate student accomplishments as they complete their Bulldog degree programs. We know that Commencement is a highly meaningful event for students, families, and others in our close-knit community.

Regrettably, the ongoing circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted our ability to hold in-person Commencement ceremonies this year. U of R is obligated to follow the state of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and guidance for Institutions of Higher Education, which limits the size of gatherings in each tier.

Specifically, institutions of higher education such as the University of Redlands must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Purple –Widespread –Tier 1: Gatherings are prohibited.
  • Red –Substantial –Tier 2: Gatherings are permitted but must be limited to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications.
  • Orange –Moderate –Tier 3: Gatherings are permitted but must be limited to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications.
  • Yellow –Minimal –Tier 4: Gatherings are permitted but must be limited to 50% capacity, with modifications.”

For the University to hold an in-person gathering:

  • San Bernardino County must be in an individual tier for a minimum of three weeks.
  • To move to the next less restrictive tier, the county must also meet specified criteria for the prior two consecutive weeks in order to progress to the next tier.  

San Bernardino County is currently in the Widespread (purple) tier 1. California’s requirements make it highly unlikely the county will reach the Minimal (yellow) tier 4, which would permit a modified traditional, in-person commencement gathering of more than 200 people.

Recognizing the reality of these limitations, the University’s Spring 2021 Commencement celebrations for the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, and the School of Education will be held virtually. The University will also hold a belated virtual celebration for the College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2020. Making this call now will help us organize the best and most meaningful ceremonies we can under the circumstances. 

Instructions for submitting individual content and participating in virtual ceremonies will be provided to graduate candidates by March 1, 2021.

Plans for additional virtual events, such as Baccalaureate, Johnston Commencement, CAS Honors Ceremony, Students of Color Ceremony, and Lavender Ceremony, are still in process. The University is also discussing the possibility of holding small, in-person events for students only and other options that meet State requirements.

We will update information about all events as more details become available.