UF celebrates graduates in person at commencement ceremonies


The University of Florida is holding its first in-person commencement ceremonies since 2019.

UF is individually recognizing nearly 10,000 graduates at the ceremonies, which celebrate the accomplishments of spring 2021 graduates, as well as 2020 graduates who did not have in-person ceremonies due to the pandemic.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to individually recognize our graduates with in-person graduation ceremonies,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “All of these students overcame the challenges and hardships of the pandemic while earning their UF degrees, and I can’t wait to join them and their families in celebrating their historic accomplishment.”

President Fuchs gave the commencement address at 14 ceremonies for spring 2021 graduates April 29 - May 3. He will also speak at 11 ceremonies for 2020 graduates scheduled for May 6 through May 9, all at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

All attending graduates will have their names called as they walk across the stage and get their pictures taken. In addition, for each ceremony, the deans of the colleges whose graduates are being recognized will give brief remarks. There will also be a special video presentation of Tom Petty’s “I won’t back down.”

All ceremony participants are required to wear masks and follow physical distancing protocols, and guests are limited via ticketing to ensure physical distancing. Anyone who does not have tickets to the spring 2021 ceremonies may gather to watch them via livestream on the jumbotron at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, weather permitting.  Masks are required at the stadium.

Family members, friends and loved ones may also watch all the ceremonies remotely. For more information on this week’s and next week’s ceremonies, and to access the livestream links, please visit https://commencement.ufl.edu/.

Drivers should allow for extra time to find parking and navigate traffic in the areas near the O’Connell Center, where a section of Gale Lemerand Drive between West University Avenue and Stadium Road will be closed. In addition, Stadium Road in front of the O’Connell Center is closed due to construction.

The spring class of 2021 graduates come from 95 countries and 49 states. The youngest graduate is an 18-year-old economics major. The oldest is 73 and receiving a bachelor's degree in anthropology. Approximately 730 graduates are first-generation college students. 

About 6,500 spring 2021 graduates have registered to attend the ceremonies that start Thursday. An additional 3,000 graduates who earned their UF degrees in 2020 are expected to attend the ceremonies that begin May 6.

Photo albums from the recent ceremonies are available on UF social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter.

Emily Cardinali April 27, 2021