Frequently Asked Questions
How were the December Commencement plans decided?
This has not been an easy or simple decision, but it is consistent with the feedback we have received from our Class of 2020 and the lessons we have learned since March of this year.
- The university's weekly operations team meeting, which includes the president, vice presidents, the provost, CFO and dean of the College of Law has discussed this issue for several weeks.
- The university's Safer Stetson Task Force has reviewed all protocols and planning.
- We are purposely holding the event after the end of the fall term, Wednesday, Nov. 25, when student, faculty and staff levels on campus drop.
- We are holding commencement outdoors, rain or shine, for safety and health reasons.
- We are purposely holding multiple, small events to allow for physical distancing of graduates and guests.
- We have reserved three days for the ceremonies but may condense depending on participation feedback.
- We are not holding or scheduling receptions following each event.
- We are allowing graduates who are unable to attend for health, safety, travel or job concerns to participate virtually.
This is what our graduates have told us they want in separate surveys. As a result of their input and feedback, research on commencement events at other institutions and the significant decrease in the incidence of COVID-19 on campus we feel comfortable making event plans at this time.
Stetson University continues to follow state and local guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although we do not anticipate this to be the case, a face-to-face December commencement may be altered or cancelled if there is measured increase in the status of COVID-19 cases in the United States and/or Florida. All graduates and guests will be required to follow Stetson’s COVID-19 guidelines in effect at the time of commencement, which includes but is not limited to, wearing an approved mask or facial covering and adhering to physical distancing requirements. More information on our Tiers is available here.
Who is eligible to participate in the December 2020 Commencement?
December 2020 commencement will include graduates of July 2019, Dec. 2019, May 2020, July 2020, and Dec. 2020. Any graduate unable to attend the December commencement will have the opportunity to participate in the May 2021 ceremony.
Which College of Arts and Sciences ceremony should I attend?
Please refer to the College of Arts and Sciences Majors to determine which ceremony to attend.
Where will the ceremonies be held?
December commencement ceremonies will be held outdoors, rain or shine, on the Stetson Green. The Stetson Green is located adjacent to the duPont-Ball Library, behind the Rinker Welcome Center. Both graduate and guest seats will be located on a grass surface. Sensible shoes are recommended.
What guidelines will be enforced during the ceremony to ensure health and safety?
- Numerous ceremonies split by college/school and division will be held to minimize the size of each gathering.
- All attendees will be required to wear a mask or facial covering throughout the ceremonies in accordance with Stetson University’s facial covering policy.
- Graduate and guest seats will be six feet apart to follow physical distancing requirements and allow for contact tracing.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be provided at the entrance to the event.
- Platform party guests will be reduced for physical distancing requirements.
- Self-screening will be required of all guests.
- Prohibit handshakes or the distribution of programs etc.
- Plans to host commencement are contingent upon Volusia County and The State of Florida’s COVID-19 status and are subject to change at any point between now and December. Stetson University will continue to follow state and local guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Should the status of COVID-19 cases in the United States and/or Florida drastically change between now and December, the decision to once again postpone commencement will come under review.
How can I best support a safe in-person ceremony?
We understand how important it is to our graduates to share their big day with friends and family. In order to have a safe and memorable ceremony for everyone, we are asking all of the guests to abide by the following guidelines:
- All attendees will be required to follow Stetson University’s COVID-19 guidelines, including but not limited to: Temperature screenings, wearing a mask or facial covering in accordance with Stetson’s facial covering policy, and following proper physical distancing guidelines.
- Faculty, graduates, and guests will be seated 6 feet apart during the ceremony and contact tracing will be in place.
- Guest seats will be placed in pairs of two, side by side. No guests will be permitted to sit in a single chair or move the chairs under any circumstances.
- Graduates and their guests will not be permitted to enter campus earlier than the allotted arrival window per ceremony and will be asked to leave campus immediately following the ceremony.
- All attendees will be asked to avoid gathering in large groups and be mindful of their proximity to other attendees at all times.
Will tickets be required to attend Commencement?
Yes, tickets are required at no charge. Due to physical distancing guidelines and large number of graduate candidates, tickets will be required to attend the in-person ceremonies.
Tickets will be distributed electronically via AudienceVIew beginning on Nov. 2.
All graduates will be eligible to secure two guest tickets for the in-person ceremony. To accommodate the greatest number of attendees possible, guest seats will be assigned in pairs to allow for contact tracing and ensure physical distancing guidelines are followed.
Updates regarding commencement tickets will be made to the commencement website, as well as by direct communication to eligible graduating students.
Do children need tickets?
Children age two years and under are not required to have a ticket but will need to be held in the lap of an attendee. Children age two (2) and under should not occupy a seat. If you bring an infant in a car seat/carrier, they will need a ticket because the carrier will replace a seat. Children who are 3 years old and over, MUST have a ticket to attend the ceremony. Strollers may not be placed in aisles within the guest seating area.
Are extra tickets for sale?
Due to COVID-19 precautions, all graduates will not receive more than two guest tickets. Reports received of students selling tickets will be sent to the Office of Community Standards. A referral to the Office of Community Standards for the selling of graduation tickets could result in allegations from the Office of Community Standards for not following requested written university policies.
Will the ceremonies be shown online?
Yes, live streaming of each ceremony will be available through Stetson Broadcast Productions for graduates and guests who are unable to attend in person.
Where do I pick up my cap, gown and hood?
Regalia distribution will begin on Dec. 1 at the Stetson University Bookstore.
Those who need to order or re-order regalia may do so via the Stetson University Bookstore website.
When will I receive my honor cord?
Honor cords will be distributed upon arrival at the Hollis Center, Rinker Fieldhouse prior to each ceremony.
When will I receive my diploma?
Diplomas will be mailed to all graduated students two to three weeks following their graduation date. Graduated students will receive confirmation once it is mailed.
Please contact the Office of the Registrar with any questions or concerns regarding your diploma: email@example.com.
What items are not allowed at Commencement?
Small and average-sized handbags, purses and camera bags will be allowed. The following items are not permitted:
- Food and Beverages
- Fireworks/open flames
- Beach Balls
- Noisemakers (blow horns, whistles, etc.)
- Pets and Emotional Support Animals (Please review our pet policy for additional information)
Where will the graduates and guests be seated?
Graduates will be seated closest to the stage, in front of the guest seating area. At the calling of names, students will rise by row, approach the stage ramp and continue across. Sensible shoes are recommended.
The guest seating area will be located behind the graduate and faculty seating section.
Where do I meet my graduate following the ceremony?
At the conclusion of the ceremony, all graduates and guests will be asked to immediately leave campus. As you leave, please be mindful of physical distancing guidelines and avoid gathering in large groups.
Will I be allowed to take photos on the stage?
No. Access to the stage following the Commencement ceremony will be prohibited.
Will there be a professional photographer at the ceremony?
Yes, photographers from Island Photography will be taking photographs of each student as they cross the stage. Following Commencement, the students will receive an email with secure links and a PIN to view the photos. You can register the email addresses of friends and relatives so that they will receive a direct link to the proofs by visiting Island Photography's website.
Guests may use personal cameras and video cameras but are not allowed to leave their seat during the ceremony.
What will the weather be like?
Florida's fall weather is pleasant with mild temperatures. Average high temperatures range from 75° F to 78° F.