USC Commencement

USC Commencement Ceremonies Begin in Person But With Pandemic Adjustments

The commencement will honor members of the class of 2020, whose in-person ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19, as well as the class of 2021.

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Commencements starting Friday at USC will look different this year, but new graduates and parents will agree the tassel is worth the hassle.

As the university celebrates the classes of 2020 and 2021, it will be a commencement of firsts.

Following California's health and safety guidelines, ceremonies will be held twice a day with limited capacity and distancing requirements over the course of a week -- Friday through May 20.

For the first time since 1950, the ceremony will occur at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum -- and each graduate will proceed across the stage for his or her diploma.

The commencement will honor not only Trojans from the class of 2021 but also the class of 2020, whose in-person ceremony was put on hold due to the pandemic. Ceremonies will take place at 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Coliseum and will be livestreamed on the internet.

The event will combine elements of USC's traditional main graduation ceremony with those of individual school and college ceremonies. Graduates will have the opportunity to proceed across the stage, hear their name announced, receive their diploma covers and have photos taken while projected on gigantic screens at the stadium.

Participation is expected by the full graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, including international students who were permitted to travel to the U.S.

Due to distancing requirements, it will not be possible to hood doctoral candidates; hooding ceremonies will take place in the future when restrictions are lifted.

Bina Venkataraman, an American journalist, author and policy expert will deliver the commencement address on Friday from the Coliseum. She is the editorial page editor at The Boston Globe, formerly serving as senior adviser for climate change innovation for the White House.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, pre-registration is required of graduates and guests — a maximum of two guests per graduate is allowed. Pre-registered graduates and guests will have received information with attendance requirements, which include social distancing and wearing face coverings.

Anyone who has not pre-registered will not be permitted inside the Coliseum. Gatherings are not allowed outside the stadium.

For complete information, visit the USC commencement 2021 website.

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