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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s important to ask questions! Below are answers to some of the questions frequently asked about Commencement. 

What kind of footwear is appropriate for the ceremony?

Since Commencement is being held on a turf field, shoes with pointy heels will sink into the turf. We suggest wearing shoes without pointy heels such as wedges or flats. 

Why are we holding these events on weekdays?

Due to the revised academic calendar, the last day of finals is Friday, May 14. To give the Registrar’s Office adequate time to process grades, the earliest date we can hold our ceremony for the Class of 2021 is May 18.

The ceremony for the Class of 2020 is scheduled several days after the ceremonies for the Class of 2021 to control crowd density on campus in compliance with guidelines from the State of Illinois and Lake County Health Department. Holding the Class of 2020 ceremony on Friday, May 21 will allow 2021 graduates to move out of their residence halls and leave campus before the arrival of 2020 graduates and guests.

Why are the ceremonies on campus and not at Ravinia Festival Park as in previous years?

Ravinia will not re-open until July for concerts and will not host any external events this entire summer. The College has outdoor facilities that can accommodate our ceremonies, so we decided to bring the celebration back to campus for the first time since 2005. The new Mohr Field will provide an excellent backdrop for the events.

Why are there two ceremonies for the Class of 2021?

By splitting the number of graduates in half, we have the space to safely accommodate graduates and their guests for each ceremony. The guidance from the State of Illinois “Restore Illinois Plan” for Phase 4 indicates that multiple groups of 50 can only be gathered outdoors with masking and proper social distance. To comply with this guidance, we must hold two ceremonies to accommodate graduates and guests.

Can I pick which ceremony I want to attend?

No, the list of graduates will be split alphabetically, and each student will be assigned to a specific ceremony. You will be informed of your assignment within the next few weeks.

Can graduates participate remotely?

Graduates will need to be in attendance to participate in Commencement ceremonies. Graduates indicated whether they planned to attend when they completed the Intent to Graduate form earlier this year. If your plans have changed, please contact the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible at registrar@lakeforest.edu .

What is the schedule for each ceremony?

The ceremonies for the Class of 2021 will be held at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18. We anticipate each ceremony will last 1-1 ½ hours.

The ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 21. The length of the ceremony will depend on how many graduates decide to attend.

What will the ceremony look like?

The program will include a welcome and brief remarks from President Schutt, a speech from the Senior Speaker, and the awarding of degrees. Each graduate will have the opportunity to cross the stage. To limit the time graduates will be in a large group, we will not have a graduate processional. Graduates will check in upon arrival and then immediately take their assigned seats.

What happens if it rains?

We plan to hold the events outside, rain or shine. For rain, we will provide ponchos to all attendees. If we encounter severe weather (thunderstorms with lightning or a tornado), we will delay until the weather passes or postpone until the following day.

How many guests can I bring?

To maintain required social distancing, each graduate will be allowed two guests. We cannot make any exceptions. We look forward to the time when we can have larger groups attend again, but this year we must maintain the two-guest limitation. Those without tickets will need to stay away from campus and watch the ceremonies on livestream.

Can I sit with my guests?

Graduates will check in upon arrival and then go to assigned seating with their fellow graduates. Guests will be seated in a separate area in groups of two.

How will guests receive tickets?

We will be using an electronic ticketing system (details on reserving tickets will be provided soon). Unused tickets will not be available for redistribution.

How will I get my cap and gown?

A cap and gown pick-up event will be held on April 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Simpson Balcony of the Mohr Student Center. Seniors who live on campus or commute can pick up their caps and gowns on this day. Students who are learning remotely this semester will receive their packages at the home address on file with the College.

To check the address on file and update your information, please click here.

Will faculty and staff be able to participate in the ceremonies?

Due to space limitations required to comply with guidance from the State of Illinois and Lake County Health Department, this year’s ceremonies will not be able to accommodate faculty, staff and trustees.

Can faculty and staff volunteer to help at the ceremonies?

Absolutely! We will need many more volunteers this year. Please contact Assistant Dean of the Faculty Fran Pease if you’re interested.

Will there be any other senior events this year?

The College is working on plans for a potential socially distanced gathering for faculty, staff, and Class of 2021 graduates on Monday, May 17, and a reception for faculty, staff, and Class of 2020 graduates after Commencement on Friday, May 21.

Will we have Senior Honors Convocation?

The College is working on plans for a potential socially distanced Senior Honors Convocation that would also take place on Monday, May 17. Stay tuned for details.

Where can I park?

Parking for graduates and ticketed guests will be available on South Campus near Mohr Field. A map and instructions will be provided as we get closer to the date.

Can I take pictures and show my family around campus after the ceremony?

Yes, although graduates and guests must vacate the South Campus parking lot within an hour after the ceremony ends. If you’d like to stay on campus longer, please move your car to North or Middle Campus. Mask wearing and adherence to social distancing still will be required while on campus.

I’m a 2020 graduate. What’s next?

College staff will be reaching out to all 2020 graduates in the next week to determine who will attend the Commencement ceremony on May 21.

We’re still in a pandemic. What steps will the College take to keep everyone safe?

The College takes the health and safety of our community very seriously. All attendees will be required to wear a mask at all times and follow social distancing instructions. As we get closer to the date, we will distribute a list of expectations to all graduates and guests. We want these events to be as safe as they are celebratory, but it will take everyone’s cooperation.

Who do I contact with questions?

Please forward questions to commencement2021@lakeforest.edu. Also, please check the Commencement webpage for updates.

Additional questions?

Office of Development and Alumni Relations
847-735-6000
alumni@lakeforest.edu