Commencement: LU brings back tradition, plus

After more than a year of altered commencement ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more traditional ceremonies return to Lamar University this May with added pomp and circumstance for both in-Field at Commencementperson and virtual participants.

LU will confer more than 2,000 degrees during three commencement ceremonies. The Colleges of Business, Engineering and Fine Arts and Communication will graduate Thurs., May 13 at 7 p.m. The following evening, Fri., May 14 at 7 p.m., the College of Arts and Sciences will graduate, and the College of Education and Human Development will be held on Sat., May 15 at 7 p.m.

Although some COVID-19 precautions will still be in place - commencement ceremonies will be held outside at Provost Umphrey Stadium, masks will be required when social distancing is not possible and each candidate for graduation will be allowed six guests – the ceremonies will more closely resemble pre-pandemic celebrations.

Group of Grads“We’ll have faculty back at commencement,” said Dann Brown, associate provost for Academic Affairs. “Since COVID, faculty haven’t been able to be a part of the ceremony and for faculty who have worked with students for years, this is significant for them; it’s an exciting addition.”

Brown said the university also plans to decorate the stage to make it “uniquely LU.” “We’re working hard to dress the stage and make it something that causes students and guests to lose their breath when they arrive and see it.”

Saturday evening the event will be livestreamed for graduates who are not attending in person. These graduates will see and hear everything in real time as if they were present until the conferring of degrees begins.

“At that point the virtual commencement will pivot and go to the online environment for those students graduating virtually,” said Brown. “The online program will transition to just online participants, conferring their degrees by name and recognizing their unique experience.”

For the first time in LU’s history the commencement celebration will include concessions. Graduates and guests will have the opportunity to purchase popcorn and hotdogs, sodas and water. Additionally, all will receive a small LU hand sanitizer. Graduates will receive an LU 2021 grad mask. As they leave, each Two Gradsgraduate will receive an individually wrapped LU cookie and LU branded water bottle.

Particularly meaningful for May 2021 commencement, Lamar University’s outgoing President Dr. Kenneth Evans will deliver the commencement address. Evans, LU’s fifteenth president, has accepted a new position as president of Oklahoma City University effective July 1, 2021. 

“It’s going to be an event that ends with a bang,” said Brown. “And even if we go back to college-specific graduations in the Montagne Center in the future, we may consider a culminating event outdoors at the stadium to celebrate all graduates and invite our local alumni.”

Fun Facts about LU’s 2021 May Commencement:

- The 2,056 graduates represent 21 countries outside of the U.S., 36 states outside of Texas and 344 cities and towns.

- Approximately 1,321 spring 2021 graduates plus an additional 60, who graduated in 2020 but did not participate in commencement, will be attending in person.

- 358 graduates will attend virtually.

Learn more about LU’s May 2021 commencement.