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In-person college graduation ceremonies return to Indiana

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) – In-person graduation ceremonies start for colleges across Indiana on Friday. For many schools, this is the first time for these celebrations in more than a year.

Now both 2020 and 2021 graduates will be attending commencement ceremonies in person, however, there are many pandemic safety precautions in place.

At Ball State University, the school is following state and local health guidelines with a series of smaller outdoor graduation ceremonies at Scheumann Stadium, rain or shine.

Graduates are limited to four family members or friends who can attend. Guests must have a ticket, wear a mask and sit in a pod with their group. Graduates and guests will also follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings and the venue will be sanitized between each ceremony. 

For people who can’t make it to graduation in person, or don’t feel comfortable attending, Ball State University offers all ceremonies live-streamed online.

“Really focus on why the graduates and their families are there. So that they can have their moment on the stage with their diploma and celebrate their success. So we are going to maintain those health and safety protocols but have as close to normal commencement ceremonies as possible under these conditions,” said Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns.

Mearns is proud of the graduates and the school for getting to this point and considers in-person commencement ceremonies a sign that they are on the path of resuming a traditional on-campus academic experience for students and staff.

“There is a great level of excitement, a lot of hard work to make it happen. Given how many ceremonies there are and all the additional logistics, but all of us who work at the university feel pleased and proud and grateful that we are able to do this for our graduating students and their families,” said Mearns.

Ball State encourages all participants and attendees to plan ahead, arrive early and then follow the directives of officers who will be managing traffic flow. Gates will open one hour before each ceremony. The ceremony schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 7 (Doctoral, Specialist, and Master’s candidates for Spring 2021):

  • Graduate School, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 8 (Bachelor’s and Associate candidates for Spring 2021):

  • R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning; College of Communication, Information, and Media; Teachers College, 8 a.m.
  • Miller College of Business, Noon
  • College of Fine Arts, and College of Health, 4 p.m.
  • College of Sciences and Humanities, 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 15 (Class of 2020):

  • R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning; College of Sciences and Humanities; Teachers College, 8 a.m.
  • Miller College of Business; College of Communication, Information, and Media; College of Fine Arts; College of Health, Noon.

To the extent possible, Ball State kindly requests Muncie residents avoid the area around Scheumann Stadium during ceremonies to help limit graduation traffic congestion.

Here is a full list of Indiana college graduation plans.

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