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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates | Fall 2021 Plans

Frequently Asked Commencement Questions

  • Will the May 2021 ceremonies be held in person?

    Following the January announcement from President Feinstein, UNC is planning to host in-person commencement ceremonies for all graduates. The ceremony livestreams will be available for guests and those unable to attend in person. A virtual hooding ceremony will take place on Friday, May 7 and in-person ceremonies will be on Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9. Visit the ceremonies page for more details.

  • Will doctoral candidates be allowed to attend the in-person ceremonies?

    Yes! Doctoral candidates can participate in either or both the virtual hooding ceremony and the in-person ceremonies. There will be no hooding at the in-person ceremony.

  • What time should I arrive to participate in the ceremony?

    Graduates should arrive for check in and lineup at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start.

  • Do I need a ticket to get into the ceremony? How many guests can attend the ceremony?

    Public health guidelines significantly reduce the number of guests who can attend the ceremony in person, so a ticket is required to attend the ceremony. UNC has received confirmation from our local public health department that each UNC graduating student will be able to have FOUR guests. This is the final change to the guest policy for UNC’s spring commencement ceremonies. The ceremony livestreams will be available for guests and others unable to attend in person. 

    The Commencement Planning Committee has been working in conjunction with UNC's Coronavirus Task Force  and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment to ensure this year's commencement ceremony provides as much of the traditional excitement as possible, while meeting public health guidelines. UNC is abiding by the state’s new Public Health Order 20-38, effective April 15, 2021, regarding limited COVID-19 restrictions. The new order allows local public health agencies to approve plans for graduations and large outdoor seated events in accordance with guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This guidance includes limiting the number of people in attendance, regardless of how many have been fully vaccinated.

    The UNC Ticket Office will distribute digital tickets on Monday, May 3 directly to Bear Mail addresses for spring 2021 graduates and the email address used to register for 2020 graduates who choose to walk. Children ages three and under do not need a ticket for entry assuming they will be sitting on a parent/guardian's lap. Graduates are responsible for sharing tickets with their guests.

    Each ticket can only be used once and is assigned to a specific commencement ceremony and seating section to accommodate spacing requirements, and ADA accessible seating will be available in each zone.

  • How do I request accommodations for the ceremony?

    If there may be barriers to accessing any commencement events and you need to request disability accommodations contact the Disability Resource Center with any questions you may have by phone 970-351-2289 or email DRC@unco.edu.

  • Do I have to wear a mask to attend the ceremony?

    Yes. The university requires anyone on campus to wear face coverings at all times while in public or shared spaces. The full mask policy is available on UNC's spring operations site.

  • What are the guidelines for decorating my cap?

    You may decorate your cap however you like as long as it does not include anything inappropriate or prevent others from participating in the ceremony.

  • How long is the ceremony?

    We know commencement ceremonies can be lengthy, but we are here to celebrate each grad and their achievement. The size of the graduating class varies at each ceremony, meaning they can last anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 hours.

  • What if the weather is bad?

    The university will do everything possible to host the ceremonies outside at Nottingham Field as planned, however spring weather in Northern Colorado can be volatile.

    To remain COVID compliant, the ceremonies would shift to a grad walk across a stage in the Bank of Colorado Arena without guest attendance or speakers. A grad walk allows graduates to enter the arena and walk onto the stage as their name is read. While on stage, each graduate will receive a diploma cover and have their photo taken. The ceremony schedule would remain unchanged.

    Inclement weather decisions will be announced by 11 a.m. the Thursday before the ceremony through the UNC website, social media, and an email to each graduate. Inclement weather decisions are not reversed.

  • Can I watch the ceremony from anywhere? Will there be a recording available afterward?

    Yes! Just visit the ceremonies webpage to watch the ceremony livestream. Ceremony recordings are all available on UNC's YouTube channel

  • Is there accessible seating available?

    There is designated accessible seating along the first row of bleachers in Bank of Colorado Arena, and designated seating areas in the bleachers on the east and west side of Nottingham Field. Each seating zone at the spring 2021 ceremonies has accessible seating available.

  • Where can I park?

    UNC parking lots around campus are open to the public during Commencement weekend and permits are not required. View parking map.

    There are a number of ADA parking spaces near the venue(s). These spaces are reserved for vehicles that display the appropriate state-issued hang tags or license plates. Parking can only be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • What can I bring to the ceremony?

    Feel free to bring personal items such as purses, camera bags and diaper bags. We do ask that guests refrain from bringing backpacks into the venue. Keep in mind that personal items are subject to search by the UNC Police Department.

  • Are animals allowed inside ceremony venues?

    Any certified service animal is welcome anywhere on campus. Pets that are not certified service animals won’t be permitted at commencement ceremonies.

  • Where can I stay and dine in Greeley?

    Visit Greeley maintains information on local lodging and dining options.

  • How do I make sure my name appears in the program?

    Students must apply to graduate by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 12 to guarantee their name appears in the program. Students who apply to graduate after this deadline are welcome to participate in the ceremony but will not have their name in the program.

    Pick your level of study to apply for graduation:


  • How do I rent regalia? Can I purchase regalia to own?

    Renting Regalia

    Our cap and gown partner, Herff Jones, has made returning your rented items easier than ever.  The university does not have your order information or the ability to issue new return labels to you. Please send all questions related to gown and hood returns are sent directly to our partners at Herff Jones. 

    What Has to be Returned?

    Undergraduate Students: Return ONLY their gown. Students keep their caps, tassels and any other accessories purchased from Herff Jones.

    Graduate Students: Return ONLY their gown AND hood. Students keep their caps, tassels and any other accessories purchased from Herff Jones.

    Returning your Items (Online Orders)

    If you placed your order online, you should have been sent a pre-paid FedEx return label with your order. To return your rented items, simply put them back into the box they came in, adhere the provided label, and then take the package to any FedEx drop location. You may also work directly with FedEx to schedule an at home pick-up for your items.

    If you placed your order online and you lost your label, or your label was not included with your order, then you can reach out to Herff Jones directly and request a new label.

    Returning your Items (In-person/Late Rental Orders):

    If you placed your order at the late order event held on campus or at the Herff Jones booth on the day of your ceremony, then you should have received a pre-paid USPS return label. To return your items, simply utilize any appropriately sized box that you have at home, adhere the provided label to the box, and then drop the box off at any USPS drop location.

    If you placed your order at the in-person late order event or at the Herff Jones booth on the day of your ceremony and you lost your return label, then you are responsible for making shipping arrangements to get your rented items back to Herff Jones. Returns can be sent to:

    Herff Jones
    Rental Return Department
    1000 N. Market St.
    Champaign, IL 61820

    When do I Have to Return my Rented Items?

    All returns for orders placed on or before May 9, 2021 must be post marked for return by June 1st, 2021.

    Purchasing Regalia

    If you are a student interested in purchasing your regalia to own, you can visit the site below to purchase regalia to own.


    Remember purchased regalia is made to order and has a standard lead time of 6-8 weeks (shipping not included). If you intend to purchase regalia, please make sure you leave plenty of time to ensure that your regalia order will arrive in time for your ceremony. Additionally, since all items on this site are made to order, all sales are considered final. Please use caution when ordering from this site and ensure that all of the information you are providing is accurate. If you are uncertain on something, like which color hood to order, please reach out to our local Herff Jones representative for assistance

    Local Representative: Alex Frieler ajfrieler@herffjones.com

  • What are the regalia refund policies?

    UNC partners with Herff Jones to provide regalia rental to all graduates. Please see their policies below.

    • Herff Jones Refund Policy
      • Caps, Tassels, Gowns, and Regalia Accessories (i.e. Stoles): A refund will be provided so long as the product is unused and unopened. Refunds must be requested prior to your ceremony date. Keeper products being returned by students are returned at their expense. Certain customized and year dated products are not eligible for refund or return. Please reach out to Herff Jones customer service if you have specific questions.
      • Announcements and Fine Paper Accessories: All sales are final.
      • Frames: Refund must be requested within 1 month of the product being delivered to the customer.
      • Class Rings: All sales are final.

      We stand by our products and will offer refunds on any product if a manufacturing or material defect is present.

    • Herff Jones Customer Service
  • What are my options for photos?

    Each graduate has a portrait taken in front of a green screen at the side of the stage and a photo taken on the stage with your diploma cover. You will receive an email from Lifetouch when your proofs are ready and you can choose whether to purchase photos at that point. Because portraits are in front of a green screen, you will have several background options to choose from. View and order photos here

  • I’d like to walk in a future ceremony when public health restrictions allow. How can I do that? 

    Please reserve your spot online or reach out to alumni@unco.edu or 970-351-2551 to coordinate your plans.

  • What does the graduation fee cover?

    The graduation fee covers the cost of processing and posting a student’s degree. All graduating students are assessed the graduation fee independent of their participation in a commencement ceremony.

  • How do I get my diploma?

    Graduates receive their diplomas via mail following completion of the semester and verification of academic requirements.

    Learn more

  • I'm a journalist interested in covering UNC's Commencement. Who do I need to contact?

    Contact the university's News and PR team to request credentials at least two days before the ceremonies.

  • Who should I contact with additional questions?

    For questions about the commencement ceremony, contact University Advancement at 970-351-2551 or email events@unco.edu.

    For questions about completing an undergraduate degree, contact the Registrar’s Office at 970-351-4862, option 3 or email graduation@unco.edu.

    For questions about completing a graduate degree, contact the Graduate School at 970-351-1803 or email laura.hulsey@unco.edu.