The University of South Florida will return to in-person commencement ceremonies this spring, USF President Steven Currall announced today in a message to students, faculty and staff. The university-wide ceremonies at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg will mark the first time USF has held commencement in person since December 2019, as COVID-19 forced the ceremonies to be held virtually in spring, summer and fall of 2020. Ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for May 7-9.
“In-person commencement is an honored and joyous occasion, and we have worked closely with our experts from USF Health to provide a safe environment for our spring ceremonies,” Currall said.
Graduates who would like to participate have been asked to RSVP by April 5. Based on the number of RSVPs received, USF will determine the number of ceremonies that will be held in order to adhere to COVID protocols that account for physical distancing and attendance limitations. A final schedule of ceremonies for the weekend of May 7-9 will be established by April 9.
Holding ceremonies in a venue the size of Tropicana Field allows USF to accommodate the approximately 7,000 students expected to earn a degree from USF this spring and provide space for some family members to attend. Each graduate will be permitted to bring two guests to their ceremony with live streaming available for those who can’t be there in person.
USF also intends to honor graduates from spring 2020, summer 2020 and fall 2020 who were unable to participate in person. While May’s ceremonies are limited to spring 2021 graduates, those past graduates and their families will be invited back for a more traditional commencement at a future date when COVID-19 restrictions can be reduced.