Temple University will host separate commencement ceremonies for graduates in each of its schools and colleges in May. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremonies are open to graduates only and guests are not invited.
Commencement ceremonies will follow COVID-19 protocols and venue limitations given by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university.
On March 5, President Richard Englert announced that Temple University’s 2021 commencement will consist of multiple smaller in-person ceremonies divided by school and college on May 6, 7, 10, 20 and 21, The Temple News reported.
A university-wide virtual ceremony for all graduates will also be held at 11 a.m. on May 6 and will be livestreamed on the university’s commencement website, The Temple News reported.
Current COVID-19 guidelines in Philadelphia limit the maximum occupancy of indoor ceremonies to 15 percent, regardless of venue size, and the maximum occupancy to 20 percent for outdoor ceremonies, according to the Department of Public Health.
Seating in each venue will be six feet apart in each direction, which are the same guidelines being used for in-person classes this year, Betzner added.
The limitations on what each school or college can do in their individual ceremonies will differ from previous years, he said.
“There’s not going to be any hand-shaking this year and there won’t be any diplomas handed out,” Betzner said.
Temple held a celebration on its website on May 7, 2020, and planned to postpone its in-person ceremony until COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, according to an announcement from Englert.
Temple encouraged schools and colleges to invite students from the class of 2020 to commencement ceremonies. But some schools and colleges already honored students from the class of 2020 during winter commencement ceremonies, Betzner said.
“We’re really glad that we’re going to be able to offer students something that we weren’t able to offer last year,” Betzner added. “This is a big day in the lives of these students and they deserve to have as much recognition as we can give them.”
Here is what each of Temple’s schools and colleges will do for their commencement ceremonies in May.
TYLER SCHOOL OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The Tyler School of Art and Architecture will hold its commencement ceremony outdoors on May 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Temple Sports Complex.
More than 220 graduates and 40 faculty members are expected to attend. Eight people will be on stage, including the dean, associate deans and five department chairs and student speakers, said Wanda Odom, Tyler’s assistant dean for strategic marketing and communications.
Tyler graduates will have a decorative archway made from plant and flower materials from Temple’s Ambler Campus as a photo backdrop, Odom said.
“Passing under the Ambler archway will symbolize transition to graduate status,” she added.
No Tyler 2020 graduates will attend. A separate reunion gathering will be hosted to recognize that class, she said.
FOX SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
The commencement ceremony for the Fox School of Business is at Geasey Field on May 7 at 9:30 a.m.
Temple expects about 830 graduates to attend, said Stephen Orbanek, Fox’s associate director of communication.
Eight people will be on the commencement stage, including Dean Ronald Anderson, a student speaker, a photographer and a few select faculty members, Orbanek added.
SCHOOL OF SPORT, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
The School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management’s commencement ceremony will take place indoors in the Liacouras Center on May 7 at 9:30 a.m.
About 90 graduates from the 2021 graduating class and 20 graduates from the 2020 graduating class plan to attend, said Orbanek, who is also a spokesperson for the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
No family, faculty or staff will attend except the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management’s associate dean, Jeremy Jordan, and assistant dean, Heather Blackburn, Orbanek added.
COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The College of Public Health will hold its commencement ceremony outdoors on May 6 at 9:30 a.m. on Geasey Field for both the class of 2021 and the class of 2020.
“Faculty and staff attendance at the ceremony will be limited to only those serving as marshals,” said Lisa Litzinger-Drayton, director of communications and marketing for the college.
Temple expects more than 700 graduates to attend, and 43 who chose to be featured in the slideshow for those attending virtually. There will be some 2020 graduates in attendance too, Litzinger-Drayton said.
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
The College of Education and Human Development will hold its commencement ceremony on May 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Temple Sports Complex.
The College of Education and Human Development’s commencement ceremony will align with the PDPH guidelines that Temple outlined, wrote Christa Hunter, director of professional experiences for the college, in an email to The Temple News.
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
The College of Engineering plans to have its commencement ceremony outdoors on May 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Temple Sports Complex. The ceremony will recognize the college’s class of 2020 and 2021, said Eric Horvath, director of strategic communication and marketing at the College of Engineering.
“Degree candidates from Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 were invited, and we have about 265 graduates registered to attend,” he said.
There will be a limited number of administrators who have volunteered to help in attendance, and the stage party, which will include the dean, student speaker Michael Sydnes, a senior electrical engineering major, and alumna speaker Michele LarMoore, Horvath said.
“There will be a separate congratulatory message from our alumni association president sent later that day to all graduates,” he said.
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
The College of Liberal Arts will hold its commencement ceremony outdoors on May 7 at 2:30 p.m. on Geasey Field.
The field can accommodate 900 seats. There are currently 672 students registered to attend the ceremony, 530 of whom are from the class of 2021, said Michelle Bonilla, assistant director of academic affairs at the College of Liberal Arts.
The stage party will consist of eight people, including the dean, assistant deans, a photographer and a DJ. There will also be two student performers instead of a student speaker, she said.
“We’re preparing as much as we possibly can, and I think during showtime, we’ll be as ready as we’re ever going to be,” she said. “Hopefully it’s just as exciting for the students.”
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The College of Science and Technology will have its ceremony indoors on May 6 at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Liacouras Center. It will celebrate the college’s class of 2020 and 2021, wrote Greg Fornia, director of marketing and communications at the college, in an email to The Temple News.
The 9:30 a.m commencement ceremony will feature a speech by Madeleine Joullie, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania who was awarded an honorary degree from Temple in 2020, Fornia wrote.
The 1 p.m ceremony will show a brief video featuring words of advice from members of the college’s Board of Visitors and other distinguished alumni, he wrote.
There are 114 graduates attending the ceremony from the class of 2020 and 277 graduates from the class of 2021 in addition to approximately 20 college staff facilitating the event, he wrote.
There will be a stage party of no more than 18 individuals, which will include Dean Michael Klein and senior deans from the college, he wrote.
KLEIN COLLEGE OF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION
The Klein College of Media and Communication’s commencement ceremony will be held on May 6 at 2:30 p.m. on Geasey Field.
The stage party will include Dean David Boardman, the commencement speaker, the student speaker and Janet Klein, a member of Klein’s board of visitors, said Amanda Stankiewicz, director of communications at Klein.
More than 400 graduates are expected to attend either virtually or in person, she added.
“We plan to have a QR code set up to allow our graduates to fill out the career survey that the university provides and then students will have a table where they can pick up their yearbooks,” Stankiewicz added.
The ceremony is not open to graduates from the Class of 2020, she said. Klein hosted a virtual event on Jan. 14 to recognize those graduates.
BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE
The Boyer College of Music and Dance will host its commencement ceremony indoors on May 6 at 1 p.m. at the Temple Performing Arts Center.
A spokesperson for the Boyer College of Music and Dance did not respond to The Temple News’ request for comment.
SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM AND MEDIA ARTS
The School of Theater, Film and Media Arts will have its commencement ceremony indoors on May 7 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Temple Performing Arts Center.
A spokesperson for the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts did not respond to The Temple News’ request for comment.