Auburn announces spring graduation plans for Jordan-Hare Stadium

University adds Friday evening commencement address featuring alumnus Kenneth Kelly ’90
Published: March 02, 2021
Updated: March 04, 2021
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Auburn’s spring commencement exercises, scheduled for April 30-May 1, will once again take place in Jordan-Hare Stadium, contingent on current health and safety guidelines and weather.

In place of larger ceremonies that combine multiple colleges and schools, graduates will participate in individual college and school ceremonies in Jordan-Hare. The university will kick off its graduation weekend with a commencement address from Auburn alumnus Kenneth Kelly at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30. Open to all graduates and families, the event will also recognize the spring marshals and include the formal conferral of degrees by the Board of Trustees. The commencement address will be immediately followed by the Graduate School ceremony, with guests seated in the stands to allow for physical distancing and access to Pat Dye Field limited to master’s and doctoral graduates and guests only. 

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, the university will host 10 undergraduate ceremonies at assigned times throughout the day. Each ceremony will include brief remarks by the dean, followed by the student processionals. All graduates will receive a copy of the Auburn Creed and pose for an official university photograph alongside their names displayed on the video board. 

Times for each college are available on the commencement website. Graduates must enter the stadium through Gate 10 no later than 20 minutes before their scheduled ceremony time. Upon arrival, graduates will receive a preprinted name card and have their photo taken with Aubie. All ceremonies will be livestreamed on the commencement website for those unable to attend or who have health concerns.

“Commencement is an important event for our students and their families, as well as our campus community,” said President Jay Gogue. “We have worked closely with university and public health officials to develop plans that will allow us to safely hold our ceremonies for our graduates and their families.”

Plans for the spring ceremonies come as the university continues to monitor health scenarios associated with COVID-19. All graduates and guests are required to adhere to all safety protocols, posted on the commencement website. Guests should enter the stadium through Gates 5-8 and may sit in sections 24–34 to allow for physical distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available and easily accessible to all students and guests.

Kelly, the Friday evening keynote speaker, is a 1990 electrical engineering graduate of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and serves as chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank of Detroit, the seventh-largest African American-controlled bank in the country. A noted industry leader, Kelly just completed a three-year term on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. He also serves on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, Chairman’s Community Bank Advisory Committee, and is a board of director of the American Banker’s Association, which is the trade association for the banking industry whose members safeguard more than $15 trillion in deposits. Kelly is the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council’s current chair, the first African American to hold the position.

Contingency plans have been developed in the event of changes to existing COVID-19 regulations or severe weather. These plans include continuing the ceremonies if light rain occurs, adjusting the schedule as needed, and in the event of inclement weather, transitioning the ceremonies to Auburn Arena where they will be livestreamed without guests.

On Monday, May 3, the university will host ceremonies in Auburn Arena for graduates from the Harrison School of Pharmacy at 1 p.m. and the College of Veterinary Medicine at 6 p.m.

All participating graduates must wear the proper regalia, which can be ordered through the Auburn University Bookstore. Regalia orders placed by April 9 can be picked up at the bookstore the week of April 26-30. Additional information is available on the commencement website, and information will be posted on the university’s commencement Facebook and Instagram accounts.

For questions regarding commencement, please email commencement@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.