students in black academic gowns, mortar caps and red hoods
Chapman University graduates celebrate Commencement, one of the most important events of their academic careers. (File photo.)

Chapman University Classes of 2020 and 2021 to Celebrate Double Commencement Weekends

Graduates from the Chapman University classes of 2020 and 2021 will don caps and gowns and cross the stage to celebrate their graduation at Chapman University’s first major in-person event since the start of the pandemic. Commencement ceremonies will take place over two weekends, July 30 – August 1 and August 6 – August 8. 

In the face of the pandemic, many colleges and universities made the difficult decision to cancel 2020 commencement ceremonies completely. But Chapman University staff and administrators have remained committed to providing an in-person ceremony to honor graduates at the first possible opportunity. That opportunity has finally arrived.  

“That moment of walking across the stage is too important,” said Brittany Pacheco, associate director of academic events. “We don’t want any of our graduates to feel like they’ve missed out on an essential experience, one that they deserve after all the hard work they’ve put in.” 

Though some parts of the traditional event have necessarily been eliminated — there will be no keynote speakers, honorary degrees or fireworks — most of the aspects most memorable for students remain intact, including processing in and out with their classmates, having their name read as they cross the stage, and turning their tassels together as a graduating class. In Alumni Alley, they’ll be welcomed by the Chapman University Alumni Association and have a chance to take photos with their classmates and Pete the Panther. A virtual Baccalaureate service was held at the conclusion of the academic year.

At this time, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased to allow an unlimited number of guests, so graduates can invite friends and family to join the celebration on Wilson Field. One section of seating will be reserved for those who desire to remain socially distanced, and face coverings will be available at various locations throughout the venue for those that require them. To learn more about Chapman’s efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of our community during the pandemic, visit the CU Safely Back website.

Read a recap of this event.

Staci Dumoski