College of Design Commencement

2021 Commencement Celebration

The College of Design hosted a hybrid commencement ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Virtual Celebration: Wednesday, May 12

The core of our 2021 Commencement Ceremony was a virtual celebration, which went live on Wednesday, May 12 at 6:00 PM Central. The virtual celebration is hosted on MarchingOrder and features videos from University and college leadership, well wishes from community leaders, and speeches from members of the Class of 2021. These videos can also be viewed on this page or on our YouTube account. In addition to this virtual video series, academic programs hosted watch parties the evening of May 12.

Read Dean Strohecker's Speech

Optional In-Person Event: Wednesday, May 12

Along with the virtual celebration, graduates were invited to participate in an in-person celebration to walk across an outdoor stage, receive their diploma cover in person, and pose for a professional picture.

The in-person celebration took place on Wednesday, May 12 from 9:30 AM to 3:25 PM Central. The stage for the in-person ceremony was set up on the St. Paul Campus at the Upper Buford Parking Lot S106 behind McNeal Hall.


Please reach out to or take a look at our commonly asked questions below.

Commencement FAQs

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Why didn't the commencement ceremony take place in Northrop Auditorium like in previous years?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, combined with decisions made by our University partners, an indoor ceremony at Northrop was not feasible. After talking through our options with students from across the college, we decided to provide a hybrid event as a complement to the virtual ceremony. We know this wasn't ideal, but our hope is that the hybrid ceremony offered as meaningful of an experience as possible while keeping our community safe.

When will I receive my diploma?

Most students generally receive their diplomas two to three months after completing their degree requirements. Participation in the graduation ceremony does not guarantee that you have completed your degree. Be sure to contact your academic advisor if you have questions or concerns about completing your degree requirements.

International students: diplomas currently take two to three months LONGER to reach your international address. Consider using FedEx delivery. See OneStop for more information.

How will academic achievements be recognized? (e.g., Latin Honors, Distinction, honor cords)

If you are an undergraduate graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or above, and/or if you are completing the honors program, please be sure note that on the online survey you receive in March.

  • If you graduate with an overall GPA of 3.750 – 3.889, you will earn a level of Distinction.
  • If you graduate with an overall GPA of 3.900 or higher, you will earn a level of High Distinction.
  • Latin Honors: for students participating in the University Honors Program (UHP).

Notation will be included next to the student’s name in the printed program.

Honor Cords for Distinction/High Distinction: Students who participated in the optional in-person ceremony were given their honor cords upon arrival. For eligible students unable to attend, honor cords will be sent in the mail by the end of June. Be sure to update your diploma mailing address!

What if I have other questions?

Any further questions may be sent to