OCT. 15: President McPhee announces In-person commencement ceremonies at Floyd Stadium on Nov. 21

To the University community,

As we approach the midpoint of the Fall 2020 semester, I appreciate the continued attention and adherence by faculty, staff and students to our health protocols, especially our policy requiring the wearing of face masks in campus buildings. It is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to operate the campus safely during this ongoing global pandemic.

The spread of COVID-19 during the past several months unfortunately compelled us to cancel our spring and summer commencement ceremonies. I believe that our graduation exercises are the most important event on campus. All of us at the university recognize the significance and importance of a formal graduation ceremony to our students and their families.  To that end, I am pleased to announce that I have authorized the University to schedule in-person commencement ceremonies at Floyd Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, for our December 2020 graduates. Our May 2020 and August 2020 graduates will also be invited to participate.  

To help assure the safety of all in attendance, we’ve decided to hold these ceremonies outside, based upon recommendations from federal and state health officials that encourage exterior spaces to be utilized for such public events in order to deter the spread of COVID-19. Masks and social distancing will be required and strictly enforced.

All May, August, and December 2020 graduates who wish to participate in the Nov. 21 ceremonies must complete and submit a reservation form, which the Registrar’s Office will send today by email to all 2020 graduates. This form must be returned to the Registrar’s Office no later than Sunday, Oct. 25 in order to participate in a Nov. 21 ceremony.

Based upon the responses we receive, graduates will be assigned to one of three potential ceremonies on Nov. 21, tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m., 1 p.m. or 4 p.m., and given the option of requesting a limited number of guest tickets. Participating graduates will be notified of their assigned ceremony time on Tuesday, Oct. 27 and will receive precise seating assignments, arrival times and other instructions closer to the ceremony date.

Unlike any previously held commencement on our campus, this one will be a very special ceremony recognizing our student’s success, as well as their perseverance and achievements. While we will be celebrating outdoors with a limited program, I am confident this will be a memorable day for each of our graduates and their families.  

It is important to note that since we’ll be subject to the elements, we will have only one inclement weather option: If conditions are unsuitable to conduct our events outside on Saturday, Nov. 21, we will attempt to move the events to the same times on Sunday, Nov. 22. A final decision on conducting our event will be made no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 20 and we will notify students of any change in plans.  

I must be very clear, however: If conditions do not permit us to successfully hold our ceremonies that weekend, there will not be an opportunity to reschedule this semester.  Should that occur, we will honor our 2020 graduates during our Spring 2021 ceremonies.

Please go to our MTSU Graduation webpage for more information. 

I look forward to what will certainly be a unique and historic event in our University’s history.

Sidney A. McPhee