Auburn announces August commencement plans

University to host combined spring and summer ceremonies in Jordan-Hare Stadium; outlines safety measures for graduates and guests
Published: June 16, 2020
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Auburn University’s spring and summer graduates will be recognized in two ceremonies to be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 8, contingent on current health and safety guidelines and weather. 

“From the beginning, we have worked to balance three important goals when planning our graduation ceremonies,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “Beginning with measures to support the safety of our graduates and guests, we have also strived to uphold the tradition of our ceremonies while engaging input from our students.” 

In early June, a survey was sent to a sample of spring and summer graduates asking for feedback on various commencement scenarios. Among the responses, holding ceremonies in Jordan-Hare Stadium that allowed attendance by family and friends was overwhelmingly selected by students over the other scenarios presented. 

“It’s so important for our spring graduates to participate in August commencement and have this symbolic experience that we could not have in May due to the pandemic,” said former Student Government Association President and spring 2020 graduate Mary Margaret Turton. “Although our class was unable to share in the unique traditions that are associated with spring graduation, the opportunity to come back to Auburn and walk across the stage in Jordan-Hare Stadium is something we will never forget.”

To take advantage of milder temperatures, the university will host two ceremonies on Aug. 8, one in the early morning and a second in the early evening. Beginning at 7 a.m., the first ceremony will celebrate graduates from the Harbert College of Business; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; College of Architecture, Design and Construction; School of Nursing; and School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. 

The evening ceremony, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., will include the College of Agriculture; College of Education; College of Human Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; and College of Sciences and Mathematics. 

Face coverings will be required for all graduates, who will be physically distanced in chairs on the field. Families and groups also will be required to physically distance in the stands and are encouraged to wear face coverings. Students will be permitted to remove their face coverings as they cross the stage for photographs and will be handed a copy of The Auburn Creed from President Gogue instead of the traditional handshake. Hand sanitizer will be available and easily accessible for students and guests, and stadium surfaces will be disinfected between ceremonies.

By taking advantage of the stadium’s expanded capacity, the university is consolidating its traditional five spring ceremonies into two, using the field to seat graduates apart from one another and allowing groups of family members to distance themselves in the stands. Both ceremonies will be livestreamed for guests unable to attend or who have health concerns.

While the university anticipates hosting the ceremonies outdoors, contingency plans have been developed in the event of changes to existing COVID-19 regulations or severe weather. These plans include transitioning both ceremonies to Auburn Arena and livestreaming them without guests.

To offset high summer temperatures, bottled water will be provided to graduates on the field, and concessions will be available for guests. Students should wear comfortable shoes for walking on the grass and guests are encouraged to dress appropriately for warmer temperatures.  

Summer graduates who need to order keepsake regalia can place an order through the Auburn University Bookstore. Additional information is available on the commencement website

Separate ceremonies will be held on Aug. 1 for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn Arena. For questions regarding commencement, please contact aucommencement@auburn.edu.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.