2021 Commencement Announcement from President Thayne McCulloh

March 22, 2021

Dear Graduates and Families:

One of the most anticipated events in the lives of our students and their families is “Graduation” (which we call, “Commencement”) – a time of celebration and, in pre-pandemic times, an opportunity for family and friends to gather and acknowledge the truly momentous achievement that is represented by the completion of one’s degree.  Last year, Gonzaga was unable to hold in-person ceremonies for its graduates, due to the restrictions we all found ourselves working under.  Our surveys of this year’s graduates confirmed for us students’ preference for a safe, in-person graduation – but key to the event would be the ability to have even a limited number of family/guests present. 

We are pleased to announce that, with the move to Phase 3 under Washington’s Road to Recovery Plan, we have been given guidance that will allow for in-person degree-granting ceremonies.  It is important to note, however, that the restrictions which remain in place under Phase 3 require significant modifications, which have led us to plan for the following:

  1. The ceremonies will be held outdoors, at Mead School District’s Union Stadium – a brand-new, 4,500 seat football stadium.  Historically, the weather in early May is quite pleasant, but inclement weather is possible.  As indoor events of this scale are not permitted at this time, attendees will need to be prepared for the possibility of rain, and most guests prepared to sit on metal bleachers.
  2. Each ceremony will be live-streamed via the web and will also be recorded so that those unable to attend can participate remotely.
  3. All participants – graduates, guests, and other participants – will be expected to adhere to all health and safety protocols, including wearing of protective masks, physical distancing, etc.  This is a requirement of the State and approval of the event is contingent upon it.
  4. We are currently planning for five (5) ceremonies: one for the Law School, one for Graduate degree programs, and three (3) for Undergraduates.  The Law School and Graduate ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 8th, and the three Undergraduate ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 9th.  Additional specific details for the time of each ceremony will follow soon.
  5. Holding multiple ceremonies will allow each graduate to invite at least three (3) and possibly four (4) guests to the ceremony.  The number of guests a given student may invite will be a function of how many graduates elect to participate in the ceremonies.  

Students have been invited to complete a participation survey by noon on Thursday, March 25th, indicating whether they will attend in person, or view the ceremonies via web stream. 

It is important to note that these plans are made in conjunction with the Spokane Regional Health District and subject to change.  We appreciate your patience as we continue to plan in an ever-changing environment and look forward to celebrating graduation.  

Please continue to check the Commencement website for additional information and support.

Sincerely yours,

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.