Countdown to May Commencement
Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 6 pm
Spring 2021 Commencement

Recent News - April 2, 2021



March 18, 2021

Dear JMU Family,

Based on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s new guidance on capacity limits for graduations and commencements, I am excited to provide updates on James Madison University’s plans to hold in-person Commencement ceremonies this May at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.

All academic colleges and The Graduate School will have in-person ceremonies so that all graduates can be individually recognized. The university-wide main ceremony will be presented virtually, given the much greater number of people involved.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a host of challenges in celebrating our students’ successes, and the Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 represent a significant milestone. While the ceremonies will look a bit different, faculty and staff are working very hard to ensure that the excitement and sense of accomplishment for students and their families remain.

Each graduate will be able to bring up to four guests to their college ceremony at the times noted below, and advance registration to the event will be mandatory. Based on state guidance, specific requirements will also be in effect for those attending in-person to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus. All participants will be required to wear face masks and to maintain proper physical distancing throughout the ceremonies.

The schedule is as follows (all events listed below will be in Bridgeforth Stadium with the exception of the virtual university-wide ceremony listed first):

Thursday, May 6

6 p.m. — Virtual university ceremony with guest speaker Dr. Joanne Gabbin and senior class speaker Carter Bowman (will be streamed online)

Thursday, May 6

7 p.m. — The Graduate School ceremony

Friday, May 7

10 a.m. — College of Arts and Letters ceremony

3 p.m. — College of Business ceremony

Sunday, May 9

10 a.m. — College of Science and Mathematics; College of Education, University Studies, and Professional and Continuing Education ceremonies

1:30 p.m. — College of Visual and Performing Arts; College of Integrated Science and Engineering ceremonies

5 p.m. — College of Health and Behavioral Studies ceremony

In-person ceremonies will take place rain or shine and will not be rescheduled or transitioned inside because of the current public health guidance. All ceremonies will also be streamed online for those unable to attend in person; thus, extended family members and friends will have the opportunity to watch remotely. The Grad Walk planned in lieu of in-person Commencement ceremonies is now canceled.

Graduates will receive additional information in the coming weeks that will include information about registration and other logistics that are still in progress.

We are appreciative of your understanding and flexibility as we plan this monumental event for JMU graduates. Updates will also be posted on JMU’s Commencement webpage. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

And we haven’t forgotten the Class of 2020! We also look forward to celebrating the Class of 2020 in person this fall at a very special event. More information will follow as those arrangements are made.

In the meantime, please stay safe and well. Thank you for your patience as we navigated this decision-making process and considered all options.

With warm regards,

Jonathan R. Alger

President, James Madison University

Graduate Update
For those students who are unable to attend in-person ceremonies, or who want additional professional portraits taken in cap and gown or business attire, we will be offering that opportunity April 29th through May 1st. Photos will be taken by our partner, Grad Images and will be available for purchase. They will also be taking several photos as grads walk across the stage at the in-person college ceremonies.
We understand that some of you have been waiting for this update to order regalia.
If you are planning to participate in the in-person ceremonies, you must order regalia before
Wednesday, March 31st to guarantee arrival prior to commencement. If you are ordering after April 1, you can still receive your gown with expedited shipping.
Photo sessions will occur in Fesitval Ballroom and will abide by all VDH protocals and adhere to public health guidelines. To learn more and sign up for a portrait session, click here. 
For doctoral regalia, please call Pam Ward at the JMU Bookstore at 540-568-4541.

To order your regalia, click here.
If you are a graduate receiving an Honor Cord, please contact the JMU Bookstore or order online.
In addition to regalia, if graduates or families would like to order
JMU Class of 2021 rings and announcements from our preferred vendor, Balfour,
Please continue to check your JMU Dukes email for further updates regarding commencement including ticketing, parking, ceremony information, etc.
In addition, please continue to check our commencement website often as updates will appear there first.
If you have questions please email our University Events team at

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