Skip to main content

Class of 2021 Student Emails

May 28, 2021  |  Regalia Shipping Update

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation from Northwestern University.  Thank you for your patience while we have had to pivot to packing and shipping by graduation dates. 

We are now beginning to pack and ship your Northwestern regalia.  As packages ship, you will be receiving an email from Oak Hall confirming that your order is on its way.  We anticipate all regalia to be shipped by June 2nd and arrive by June 4th

Oak Hall apologizes for the inconvenience and know that it can be stressful to place an order and not receive your shipment immediately. We thank you for your understanding and patience and wish you the very best as you embark on your next chapter!

Oak Hall

May 15, 2021 | Regalia Shipment Update

Oak Hall knows that this has been a challenging time for all schools planning graduation ceremonies. As health guidelines have changed, many schools have added in-person events, changed dates on ceremonies, and expanded the scope of their ceremonies to include 2020 graduates in the experience.

These changes have significantly impacted our business and our ship direct orders are currently running slower than usual. We are committed to getting the regalia to students in time for their commencement ceremonies but have had to prioritize shipments by graduation date. We will absolutely ship the regalia to the students before their commencement.

Oak Hall apologizes for the inconvenience and know that it can be stressful to place an order and not receive your shipment immediately. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate these challenging times.

May 12, 2021 |  Graduation Weekend Update

Dear Graduate, 

We were excited to learn last week that Illinois will enter the Bridge to Phase 5 on May 14. This progress in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has a direct impact on how Northwestern can welcome you and your loved ones to the Graduation Weekend exercises. We are happy to share that, based on new occupancy guidelines, Northwestern can now increase ticket allotments to four (4) tickets per graduate.

Commencement will remain virtual while the in-person Convocations will take place as scheduled. View the schedule on the Commencement website.

While it is possible that Illinois may reach Phase 5 on June 11 and remove some additional event limitations, this increase to four tickets is the maximum number Northwestern can safely accommodate this year.  

Request Additional Tickets

To request additional tickets if you have already registered, please search your email for your confirmation from your initial registration, “2021 Convocation Registration – Receipt,” from Commencement NU. This email contains an editable link, which you can use to re-enter the form to update your request. You will see that you can now indicate up to four guests and will be prompted to provide the additional names, emails, and ADA accommodation requests for each of your four guests. 

If you have not already registered, you can fill out a new form found on the Commencement website. The deadline remains 11:59 p.m. CDT this Sunday, May 16, for all ticket requests or additions.

Late Regalia Orders

If you have not yet ordered your regalia and would still like to do so, please use the Northwestern Bookstore’s Online Ordering Portal Ship to Home option to order your regalia. Your regalia will be shipped if you order by May 16. 

Testing for COVID-19

If you have registered for the in-person portions of Graduation Weekend, you will receive instructions to participate in COVID-19 testing on June 10, June 11 or June 14. Testing remains an important component in preventing the spread of the virus.


Everyone must wear a mask on campus both indoors and outdoors. If you are attending your in-person Convocation, you will receive a purple mask that matches your regalia. Guests should plan to wear their own mask.

Name Updates

If you prefer to have a different first name read and displayed at your Convocation than what is printed on your diploma, you can change that in CAESAR. Please see the instructions on the Registrar’s website. Scroll down to the Preferred Name section for instructions. Update your name in CAESAR by this Sunday, May 16, for this change to be processed. 

Virtual Celebrations

All in-person Convocations will be livestreamed for graduates and guests who are unable to join us on campus. Additional virtual celebrations will take place to celebrate graduates, including Baccalaureate on June 13 at 11 a.m. CDT and the 163rd Annual Commencement on June 14 at 11 a.m. CDT.

As a reminder, the deadline for registration, ticket requests, regalia and name recordings is Sunday, May 16, at 11:59 p.m. CDT. If you need any assistance, please contact the Commencement Office at or call 847-491-3600. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate evolving health guidance and look forward to celebrating you. 


Kelly Schaefer and Jeremy Schenk
Commencement Co-Chairs

April 6, 2021

Dear Classes of 2020 and 2021,

With the recent evolution of public health guidance around gatherings, I am delighted to invite the Classes of 2020 and 2021 back to campus for modified in-person Graduation celebrations in June. These graduation rituals have been designed to create cherished memories, and we hope to safely foster as many of them as possible.

We will host in-person school convocations for the Class of 2021, while Commencement will remain virtual. We also will welcome the Class of 2020 back to campus for an in-person Graduation Celebration.

We anticipate that state guidelines will allow us to gather in greater numbers by mid-June to recognize and honor your incredible Northwestern achievements, yet we are mindful that the trajectory of the pandemic and state guidance may change, forcing further alterations in our plans. We will continue to keep you informed if changes are necessary and will prioritize in-person Graduation Weekend celebrations that provide a safe environment for all participants.

More information about the Graduation Weekend follows, and schools will share details about convocations directly with you.

Class of 2021 Virtual Commencement

Commencement, the large graduation ceremony that traditionally takes place at Ryan Field, will remain virtual due to capacity restrictions and uncertainty regarding health guidance. This year’s ceremony will be streamed live at 11 a.m. Central Time (CT) on Monday, June 14, allowing us to focus our energy and attention where you have told us it matters most – at your more intimate, school-based convocation events.

Class of 2021 In-person Convocations

Convocations will take place June 12, 13 and 14 at Ryan Field and the Ryan Fieldhouse. These events are hosted by your schools to celebrate your accomplishments individually, including having your name read while you make the final triumphant walk of your Northwestern journey across the stage. These events also will be live streamed for those viewing remotely. This is a well-earned moment filled with meaning for you and your loved ones.

Class of 2020 In-person Graduation Celebration

The Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration will take place at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, June 12, at Ryan Field and will be streamed live. All graduates from the Class of 2020 are invited to return to campus for this exciting event. Based on your feedback from the survey, we expect attendance at this event to remain below state capacity limits, allowing us to celebrate your achievements together. Here, you will be recognized, and your name will be read as you cross the stage.

The Commencement Office will follow up soon to provide information about registration and limited ticketing. Each graduate will receive at least two tickets. Please use the Commencement website as a resource for information about Graduation Weekend. If you have specific questions, please contact our staff via email at or by phone at 847-491-3600

Congratulations on your academic accomplishments! I look forward to celebrating with you during these Graduation festivities.



Morton Schapiro

President and Professor


This letter is being sent to eligible students who earned degrees in Fall 2020 and have been reported to the Office of the Registrar as potential candidates for degrees in Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. It is important to understand that receipt of this letter by Class of 2021 students does not imply confirmation of your eligibility to graduate.

April 27, 2021

Dear Graduates of the Class of 2021,

We look forward to celebrating your achievements during Commencement, Convocations and Senior Experience activities. With June fast approaching, below you can find reminders, registration information, and event details to help you prepare for this exciting time with your friends, family members, and loved ones. 

The 163rd Annual Commencement

Virtual Ceremony
The University-wide Commencement will be livestreamed on June 14th at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, including addresses from students, President Morton Schapiro, and our Commencement Speaker, Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer for SpaceX.

Submit Your Ideas
Gwynne Shotwell is looking to include student input in her address and has two questions for the Class of 2021. If you would like to participate, please fill out this form.

Class of 2021 Convocations

Regalia Ordering 
The deadline to order regalia is Sunday, May 2, at 11:59 p.m. Regalia can be purchased and sent to Norris University Center for in-person pickup or shipped to an off-campus location for a fee. More information on regalia can be found on the Commencement website, as can mementos such as class rings, announcements, and diploma frames.
These events, hosted by each school, will take place on campus June 12-14 and will be livestreamed for remote viewers. The full schedule of events can be found here. You can register for all convocations here. Please do so by Sunday, May 16, at 11:59 p.m.
Each graduate can request tickets for up to two guests, who will be seated together in pods, which allows for social distancing between ticketed parties seated together. 
Event size and ticket limitations apply to all gatherings, regardless of the size of the venue or program. This decision is predicated on the current and anticipated health and safety conditions outlined by public health guidelines. Due to the complexities of planning these events, Northwestern will be unable to make more tickets available, even if a shift in state guidance before Graduation Weekend permits it. Ticket requests are in the registration form linked above. Tickets will have assigned seats and will be emailed after June 1, 2021.
Accommodations and Accessibility
Northwestern University provides reasonable accommodations for all events and programs. Accommodations such as sign language interpreters, captioning, software compatible with assistive technology, and presentation materials in alternate formats are provided upon request. Every reasonable effort will be made to implement accommodations in an effective and timely manner. Captioning will be available in English on site and on the livestreams in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, and any additional accessibility requests can be requested on the registration form linked above.
Severe Weather Plans
Events will take place on schedule in the case of rain. In case of severe weather, events may be altered. This could include a delay in the start time, moving the ceremony to a different time in the weekend schedule, or canceling the event. More information concerning severe weather plans for Commencement will be available on the Commencement website closer to the event date. 
Senior Experience
Northwestern will offer a selection of our annual Congratulatories and traditions. Our Alumni Relations Department will host a virtual Last Lecture on June 1 and a final Paint the Rock event on June 11. We will share more information as more events come together, but our ceremonies and celebrations webpage is being updated with information on all events. 
The Commencement website offers helpful information, and if you have specific questions, please contact the office at or by phone at 847-491-3600. We look forward to celebrating you. 
Kelly Schaefer and Jeremy Schenk 
Commencement Co-Chairs

March 26, 2021 | Order Your Regalia

Hello Class of 2021,

It is time to order your regalia for your graduation celebration! Donning your purple gown is an excellent way to celebrate your achievements, whether you plan to participate in in-person events or celebrate remotely.  

Regalia Portal

Our online portal opens today, Friday, March 26, for you to order your regalia in anticipation of your graduation. Regalia can be shipped to an off-campus location for a small fee or sent to Norris for in-person pick up. Visit the regalia page of the Commencement website to find the ordering portal, along with guidelines and further details about your Northwestern regalia. The ordering deadline for regalia is May 2.

Undergraduate Students with Financial Need

The office of Undergraduate Financial Aid covers the full cost of the Bachelor’s Degree regalia package for graduating undergraduate students with financial need. Students who qualify will receive a separate email from the Commencement Office and the Undergraduate Financial Aid office with additional information.

Graduate Students with Financial Need

For graduate students with financial need, please complete this MachForm. The Commencement Office will email you confirming eligibility and instructions on how to order. Please complete your application by Friday, April 30 for full consideration.

The Commencement website is regularly updated with information, but if you have specific questions, please contact the Commencement Office at or by phone at 847-491-3600. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments during this year’s graduation festivities.

Thank you,
Kelly Schaefer and Jeremy Schenk, Commencement Co-chairs

This letter is being sent to eligible students who earned degrees in Fall 2020 and have been reported to the Office of the Registrar as potential candidates for degrees in Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. It is important to understand that receipt of this letter does not imply confirmation of your eligibility to graduate.


March 16, 2021

Dear Class of 2021 Graduating Student,

We are honored to invite you to a series of events June 12, 13 and 14 to celebrate your graduation.  We will host our 163rd Annual Commencement virtually on Monday, June 14, and you will receive invitations to your school convocation(s) that also will take place virtually during this period.

We also hope to offer you the option of an in-person recognition of your achievements. Current State of Illinois regulations allow for no more than 50 people to gather indoors, and, under certain conditions, 100 people outdoors. We do not anticipate these numbers will increase significantly in time for us to plan large-scale mid-June events. But our intention is to arrange a safe and meaningful academic procession for any Class of 2021 graduate who would like one.  

Jointly, these events salute your attainment of a grand academic goal and mark your induction into a worldwide network of Wildcat alumni. Some of you are first-generation college graduates; others are triple-purple grads with multiple Northwestern degrees; all of you are cherished, lifelong members of the Northwestern family. We are committed to honoring this diversity of experiences and your individual accomplishments in memorable ways. As you plan for this milestone, please find more information about our plans for the virtual commencement, virtual convocations and personal processions below:

Virtual Commencement

We will host the 163rd Commencement virtually on Monday, June 14, 2021 at 11 a.m. CDT. As is tradition, this ceremony will include a full roster of speakers, including students from the Class of 2021, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the President of the Alumni Association, and this year’s Commencement Speaker. After success with our virtual Commencement last year, our administrators and trustees look forward to recognizing your accomplishments across our many disciplines.

Virtual School Convocations

Each of our schools will recognize their graduates with a virtual presentation of their school convocation ceremony. More information will be coming from your school(s).  

Personal Processions

We anticipate personal processions to be scheduled over the three days of the Graduation Weekend, June 12-14, in order to accommodate any graduate who would like to participate.

You will receive a survey tomorrow about your interest in such a personal procession. In keeping with state rules, attendance would be kept to a very small number. If you register for this experience, you will be able to process across a stage in regalia, hear your name read, and have the opportunity for photos. Your procession and name-reading would be livestreamed for family and friends.

The Commencement Office will send out information regarding registration and regalia. The Commencement website offers helpful information, and if you have specific questions, please contact them at or by phone at 847-491-3600. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments at this year’s Graduation festivities.


Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President, Student Affairs

February 8, 2021

Dear Prospective Graduate,

This is the time of year we begin preparations for Northwestern’s 163rd annual Commencement on Monday, June 14 with convocation and additional celebratory events happening before and after Commencement. Typically, we would be inviting you to celebrate with us as a community for an in-person Commencement, but at this time the decision has not yet been made, and we are evaluating options. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The slowly changing status of the ongoing pandemic has us working to find the best way to celebrate your accomplishments and honor your Northwestern journey. We will update you when a determination is made.

The Commencement website will be updated with more details and helpful information as decisions are made, following guidance from the CDC and the state of Illinois. If you have specific questions regarding Commencement, please contact the University Commencement Office at or by phone at 847-491-3600. We look forward to celebrating with you.



Commencement Co-Chairs

Kelly Schaefer, PhD and Jeremy Schenk, EdD  


This letter is being sent to students who earned degrees in Fall 2020 and have been reported to the Office of the Registrar as potential candidates for degrees in Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. It is important to understand that receipt of this letter does not imply confirmation of your eligibility to graduate.