Commencement Is Less Than a Month Away: 4 Things to Know About This Year’s Virtual Ceremony

Whether you’re in Bangkok, Baton Rouge, or right on Broadway, join us online, Friday, April 30 at 10:30 a.m.

Kelly Moffitt
March 31, 2021

Commencement 2021 is less than a month away! As Columbia gears up to celebrate this year’s graduates in a virtual ceremony on April 30, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., Columbia News has gathered four essential things you need to know to participate in this festive day and other graduation-related festivities.

Commencement is a centuries-old tradition in which the president of the university confers degrees en masse to graduating students from eighteen schools, colleges, and affiliate institutions. It dates back to 1758 and has been held outdoors on the Morningside campus since 1926.

During this ceremony, remarkable members of the Columbia community and special guests are also recognized through the conferring of medals, awards, and honorary degrees. It is Columbia tradition that the University Commencement address is given by the president of the university.

1. This Year’s Commencement Ceremony Will Be Virtual

The Columbia University Commencement ceremony of the 267th academic year will take place on Friday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m. (EDT), via web broadcast. Bookmark this page, where the ceremony will be broadcast at that time. You’ll also be able to view the ceremony on Columbia’s home page, YouTube, and Facebook. You can relive last year’s Commencement ceremony here

All eligible April, May, and June 2021 degree candidates, and February 2021 and October 2020 graduates, from all schools and colleges affiliated with Columbia University, as well as family and friends, are encouraged to tune in to the celebration.

2. In Addition to University Commencement, Each School Has Its Own Graduation Celebration, Plus Iconic Speakers

Commencement isn’t the only way Columbia celebrates its graduates. Each school has its own graduation ceremony, some known as “Class Days,” where schools salute their students, confer awards, and invite iconic speakers to address the crowd. In the past, speakers such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Meryl Streep, and Ira Glass have made such addresses. This year, we’re keeping a running list of class day speakers and how you can watch them

3. Want to Be Featured in This Year’s Commencement Ceremony? Just Use #RoarLions2021 or Fill Out This Form

Commencement wouldn’t be Commencement without YOU, our students, faculty, staff, and families. We’re trying to incorporate as many memories from your time at Columbia into this year’s ceremony and to do that we need your help. Luckily, that’s pretty easy. Simply use the #RoarLions2021 hashtag on your social media posts or fill out this form featuring your memories, shout-outs, photos, videos, and more.

4. Life Moves Pretty Fast, Especially in the Time of COVID-19. In the Event of Changes or Updates Regarding Commencement 2021, You Can Stay Up-to-Date Here.

If we’ve learned one thing over the past year, it is that changes can happen when you least expect them. We don’t anticipate any big changes to this year’s ceremony or graduation festivities at this point, but you can always stay up-to-date by checking out the Commencement Announcements page. You should also bookmark the Commencement website. It is where you can find a plethora of other helpful information for graduates, families, and more: