The University of Michigan’s class of 2021 spring commencement will be held virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as announced in an email by University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel Thursday morning.

The announcement comes after a two-week stay-in-place recommendation for the University by Washtenaw County Health Department, and currently, COVID-19 cases at the University account for more than 34% of the cases in the county.

The commencement ceremony is scheduled for May 1 with plans for synchronous content that will be recorded and available for viewing afterwards. According to the email, the University is also working to provide virtual performances, host interactive elements and bring an inspiring main speaker.

Schlissel noted the decision was carefully considered, pointing to the uncertainty around future gathering sizes, travel restrictions, infection rates and vaccination rates as strong factors. He acknowledged the community impact of holding a virtual ceremony in his email. 

“We very much wish that we could hold a safe commencement in Michigan Stadium, along with the many other celebration activities that are a fundamental part of our community life and traditions,” Schlissel wrote. “Commencement is the most joyous event of the academic year for many in our community, as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and draw inspiration from the achievements they will share with our world.”

The class of 2020 also received a virtual spring and winter commencement ceremony, making this the third ceremony that has been affected by the pandemic. Schlissel stated all graduates affected by the pandemic are welcome to any future commencement of their choosing.

“They and their families will be our honored guests at these ceremonies, and the graduates will be recognized not just for the completion of their degrees, but also for their resilience and fortitude in persevering during these challenging times,” Schlissel wrote.

According to the email, the University also hopes to invite both classes back in the future for special future in-person celebrations.

For future updates about the spring commencement, the email encourages students to visit the commencement website.

Daily News Editor Francesca Duong can be reached at


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