MIDDLETOWN, PA. – Penn State Harrisburg will host in-person opening ceremonies in May to mark the completion of their academic experience in 2021 and to recognize their numerous accomplishments. Virtual and livestream options are also available to students, friends and family members who cannot or do not want to participate online.
The ceremonies will take place on May 6th and 7th at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. All undergraduate and graduate students who have announced their intention to graduate in the Spring of 2021 will be given information on how to attend the opening ceremony for their assigned school in Penn State Harrisburg. The ceremonies are as follows:
Undergraduate and postgraduate students of the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education and the School of Public Affairs – 7:00 p.m. Thursday May 6
Undergraduate and post graduate students of the School of Business Administration and the School of Humanities – 2:00 pm Friday May 7th
Undergraduate and postgraduate students at the School of Science, Engineering and Technology – 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 7th
"The beginning is an important milestone in the academic careers of our students and an important occasion for loved ones and the entire college community," said John M. Mason Jr., Penn State Chancellor Harrisburg person, of the accomplishments of the class members of 2021 to celebrate. We look forward to recognizing the culmination of their years of dedication and hard work.
"It is imperative to realize that we must remain vigilant about COVID-19 when following public health guidelines," Mason said. "We will continue to monitor changing virus conditions or changes in public health policies and adjust our plans as necessary."
Penn State Harrisburg ceremonies have a maximum of four guests per graduate to allow for physical distancing, seating, and stage placement. Tickets are required for all graduates and guests attending ceremonies, and graduates must register for the tickets. More information and instructions on how to sell tickets will be available shortly.
College ceremonies include graduates, speakers, and enrollment in the Penn State Alumni Association. In order to conform to protocols that protect the health and safety of the students, guests, and staff attending, graduates are not asked to go through the stage. However, the name of each graduate will be disclosed.
The ceremonies will be streamed live so that graduates, friends, and loved ones who are unable to attend can see the ceremony their graduates are attending.
Should guidance from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and / or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shift to allow for higher capacity for meetings before the weekend begins, the college's plans for capacity and guest limits will remain at up to equal to four guests per graduate.
University-wide virtual ceremony
In addition to the in-person ceremonies, Penn State will also host a university-wide virtual ceremony to make the beginning accessible to all students and their loved ones. Graduates, friends, and family members who cannot or do not want to attend online can view the university-wide virtual ceremony on May 9 at 6:00 p.m. at virtual.commencement.psu.edu.
The virtual ceremony will celebrate all Commonwealth Campus, University Park, and World Campus students and graduates – including those who are also attending an in-person ceremony – and includes awarding degrees, admission to the Alumni Association, and more.
Health and Safety Guidelines
All students, guests, and staff on each campus must wear face masks and physically distance themselves from others to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Penn State Harrisburg staff will be on hand to provide guidance and answer questions. All guests attending a personal opening ceremony are expected to take health and safety precautions while traveling and during the early weekend. Additionally, graduates and guests should not attend an in-person ceremony if they believe they have been exposed, have symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
Graduates and guests should be prepared to undergo a non-contact temperature test before entering the Giant Center.
Graduates who wish to be tested for COVID-19 prior to attending the opening ceremony can do so by contacting the campus student health service at 717-948-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penn State is closely monitoring the spread of new varieties and the potential impact of increased activities such as travel at the national level. The university stands ready to change plans should the circumstances of the pandemic change or worsen. Further information will continue to be exchanged and updated as necessary until the university's plans are brought into line with the latest federal and state guidelines.
Class of 2020
Working with the Penn State Alumni Association and in consultation with alumni representatives, the university is planning a special weekend in spring 2022 to celebrate the 2020 class members. More information will be released shortly as the university develops further plans to welcome the youngest graduates and their families will return to campus next spring. The campuses will communicate specific plans for their alumni as they become available.