Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 18, 2021

Seniors will have the option to be part of in-person Commencement

By MOLLY GAHAGEN | April 5, 2021

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COURTESY OF CHRIS H. PARK The partially in-person ceremony will be held on the Homewood Field.

University officials announced last week that Commencement will be held in person on the Homewood Field on May 27. This comes after an announcement last month, stating that the Commencement Office was tentatively planning for a fully virtual event. 

Graduating students have to option to take part in the in-person ceremony, where they will be recognized from their seat instead of a stage crossing. All guests, however, will watch the event via livestream. The announced plans are still subject to change dependent on public health guidances.

Sarah Martin, the Commencement director, noted in an email to The News-Letter that the Office is still monitoring the latest trends in the pandemic.

“We have been hopeful that... public health guidance and state and local regulations would allow us to have some sort of in-person ceremony,” she wrote. “[In] recent weeks, restrictions have lessened, which is allowing us to host a senior-only hybrid ceremony.”

The Commencement speaker will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Martin.

Senior Nicola Sumi Kim explained in an email to The News-Letter that she is excited about the University’s decision, as her parents are in London and cannot visit for Commencement.

“I’m happy it’s in person but also super happy it will be broadcasted because my parents can’t make it to America for commencement, so it's nice to know I can still celebrate in person but have them watch,” she wrote.

Senior Juliette Klitz is glad to have the option for an in-person Commencement but also expressed her disappointment with the circumstances.

“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to walk across the stage or have my family there, but I’m grateful we can celebrate in person at all,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Students will be required to present a green campus pass in the Prodensity app to enter the event, and the University plans to announce additional health protocols in the coming weeks.

Similar to last year’s fully virtual Commencement, Hopkins plans to personalize the event by featuring photos and videos of students’ experiences at Hopkins and individual recognition slides in the ceremony.

Senior Smitha Mahesh supports the University’s decision and is excited to attend the in-person ceremony.

“I was so happy to see the announcement. Even if I cannot be with my friends and family at Commencement, I am still very honored and humbled by the opportunity to graduate with the company of my classmates,” she said. “We persevered through a lot, and likewise we achieved a lot in these uncertain times.”

Rudy Malcom contributed reporting to this article.

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