College of Design Commencement

2021 Commencement Celebration

We are pleased to announce that the College of Design will be hosting a hybrid commencement ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students this year, which has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Virtual Celebration: Wednesday, May 12, 6:00 PM CST

The core of our 2021 Commencement Ceremony will be a virtual celebration that will go live on Wednesday, May 12 at 6:00 PM CST. The link to this celebration will be added to this page and sent to graduating students at 5:30 PM.

The virtual celebration will be hosted on MarchingOrder and will feature videos from college leadership, well wishes from community leaders, student leaders, and a student work slideshow.

In addition to this virtual video series, graduating students will be invited to attend a “watch party” hosted by their academic program. More details about the watch parties will be shared on this page soon.

Student and guests celebrating commencement

Optional In-Person Event: Wednesday, May 12, 9:30 AM – 3:25 PM CST

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 will take place on Wednesday, May 12 from 9:30 AM to 3:25 PM CST. The stage for the in-person ceremony will be set up on the St. Paul Campus at the Upper Buford Parking Lot S106 behind McNeal Hall, and the ceremony will proceed rain or shine. Parking is available at Goertner Parking Ramp.

To help us adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and ensure a safe environment, in-person attendees must sign up for a time slot to attend. There is a limit of 12 individuals per 15-minute time slot. All attendees must wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Please note: Guests will not be permitted to attend the in-person portion, however, we are working on providing a live stream of the walks across the stage so that friends and family can watch at your scheduled time.

Students were asked to indicate their interest in participating in this portion of the celebration through an email sent on Wednesday, March 24. Students who indicated their interest in this part of the celebration were sent an email on Wednesday, April 21 to select a time slot. The deadline to sign-up for a time slot is Sunday, May 2.


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

Commencement FAQs

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Why isn't the commencement ceremony taking 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 is not feasible at this time. After talking through our options with students from across the college, we decided to provide this hybrid event as a complement to the virtual ceremony. We know this isn't ideal, but our hope is that the hybrid ceremony will offer as meaningful of an experience as possible while keeping our community safe.

I originally said I didn't want to participate in the in-person celebration but I have changed my mind. How do I sign up for a time slot and learn more?

If you have changed your mind and now want to participate in the in-person celebration please email as soon as possible.

How do I request accommodations for the in-person celebration?

We want to make sure our in-person celebration is accessible for all of our graduates. To request accommodations please email

How do I change the time slot I signed up for to walk across the stage?

If you need to reschedule your time slot please email so our team can help.

Why can't friends and family attend the in-person celebration?

To help us adhere to state and University of Minnesota COVID-19 safety protocols we must limit the amount of individuals attending the in-person celebration. We are working to provide a live stream of the walks across the stage so that friends and family can watch graduates at their scheduled time.

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?

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.

What if I have other questions?

Any further questions may be sent to