May 2021 Commencement Ceremony…it’s Happenin!


Liliana Reyes

Since the start of the pandemic, several major events such as weddings, birthday parties, and graduation ceremonies have changed drastically. At one point, these large gatherings became something to be avoided due to social distancing and trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Back in 2020, this meant cancelling many graduation ceremonies for several schools, which then left upcoming seniors with one big question… will I be walking the stage in May??

Everyone has been eagerly waiting to hear if there would be an in-person commencement ceremony for the graduating class of 2021, since last year’s ceremony was conducted virtually. Our question was answered when an email from the office of the Provost was sent out regarding an important graduation announcement.

The email came in bearing some very exciting news. It was an announcement every senior had been patiently waiting for. The first point mentioned was the change in date for the ceremony. Previously it was set for May 15, 2021 but has now been updated to a later date. The email states “We will hold commencement at 1 p.m. Friday, May 21 (previously scheduled for Saturday, May 15), at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. This outdoor soccer stadium is home to Sporting Kansas City and will allow us to socially distance and accommodate a limited number of guest tickets per graduate”.

There is now an official location for the in-person graduation ceremony, Sporting Kansas City. This outdoor stadium was chosen in order to properly social distance while allowing students and families the opportunity to experience the commencement ceremony similar to how they would before COVID-19. Following the ceremony, the alumni office will sponsor a celebration for graduates and their ticket-holding guests.

Ticket information was later sent out, each graduating student will receive one pair of graduation tickets. This limited number of tickets is in efforts to keep the stadium at an adequate capacity and following CDC guidelines. Two tickets per student means making hard decisions on who to bring to the ceremony which will be difficult for many, including me, since it’s such an important milestone in one’s life. For that, the school announced a raffle which will be held for a chance to receive an extra pair of tickets, two more, if your name is selected. These extra tickets will come from those who wish to not attend the in-person ceremony.

Along with ticket information, cap and Gown information was sent out in an email, to submit proper sizing and whether you will be attending in person and plan on bringing guests.

In addition to this spectacular in-person graduation, on May 20th, 2021, a day before the commencement ceremony a Baccalaureate Mass will be held at 7 p.m. on Rockhurst University’s Bourke Field (soccer field). Advance registration will be required, and seating will be limited.

For those who may be wondering what will happen to the students who may decide to opt-out of the in-person ceremony or for friends and family who cannot make it due to limited ticket availability, there is a solution! Commencement and Baccalaureate Mass will be livestreamed to allow everyone to enjoy the celebration.  Links to view both ceremony recordings will be posted to the Graduation website,, approximately 3 weeks following the live broadcasts. That way everyone can witness this very memorable student achievement.

As expected, masks will be mandatory for all events to maintain the safest environment possible. This is such an exciting time of the year for all graduating seniors so it is important that everyone puts in the effort to stay safe, follow guidelines, and let this event flourish. An in-person ceremony taking place during times like these is something to be very thankful for and attentive as to what is required in order for it to follow through. Yes, it will be different than past graduations but it is definitely one to cherish and appreciate considering the circumstances.


Seniors make sure to keep pushing through these last few weeks for there is a wonderful ceremony that awaits. Once May 21st is here, wear that cap and gown with pride and don’t forget to mask up!



Edited by Micaela Gutierrez