Spring 2021 Commencement FAQs

See below for answers to frequently asked questions about Spring 2021 Purdue Commencement events and activities.

What is the Spring 2021 Commencement schedule?
Ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16 at Ross-Ade Stadium and Elliott Hall of Music, and will follow the schedule below:

  • Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 10 a.m. ET at Ross-Ade Stadium
    • Undergraduate (all schools/college)
    • Professional (Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Doctor of Pharmacy)
    • Graduate School (all Master's Programs)
  • Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 10 a.m. ET at Elliott Hall of Music
    • Graduate School (all Ph.D. Programs)

What are acceptable and non-acceptable items for Ross-Ade Stadium?

  • Acceptable Items for Ross-Ade Stadium - SPRING 2021 ONLY

    • Seat cushions with and without backs
    • Cameras
    • Flowers
    • Blankets
    • Wristlets (up to 4.5" x 6.5" in size)
    • Guests that are 2 and under do not require a ticket
    • Service Animals Only
    • Clear bags only – information on policy at Ross Ade Stadium can be found at:


    Not Acceptable Items

    • Camera bags or tripods
    • Balloons
    • Beverages or food products-Concession stands will be open
    • Noisemakers/posters
    • Umbrellas
    • Crossbody purse
    • Re-entry into the stadium
    • Wrapped gifts
    • Strollers or car seats
    • Alcohol/tobacco/vape
    • Emotional Support animals
    • Weapons 

Do I need to let Purdue know if I plan to participate in Spring 2021 commencement in May?
Yes.  The commencement task list will be available on the student myPurdue portal at 8:30 a.m., Friday, February 26, 2021.  Those students who declare their intent to participate before 10 p.m., Monday, March 29, 2021 will be permitted to participate in the Saturday, May 15, or Sunday, May 16  ceremony. This will not affect the degree award date.

Will my name be read in the Spring 2021 ceremony?
It depends. For those participating in the May 15 ceremony, we will display each candidate’s name, their portrait (if they submitted one) and the name of their college on the new video board at Ross-Ade before and after the ceremony. The candidates participating in the May 16 doctoral ceremony will have their name announced when they are hooded by their major professor or the dean of the Graduate School.

If I choose not to attend the ceremony, will my name still be on the slideshow with my picture?
The slideshow is only for candidates who attend the ceremony at Ross Ade Stadium.  Unfortunately, due to the volume of candidates, we are not able to display your name and picture if you indicate that you will not be attending. The slideshow will not be visible in the live stream for that ceremony.

Can I walk in a future graduation ceremony?
Yes. You may contact commencement@purdue.edu prior to any summer or winter ceremony to arrange participation. Deadlines to request participation and additional information can be found on our Returnee Participation Information page.

Do I need to rent the Purdue cap and gown for my commencement ceremony?
Yes, in order to participate, you must be on the participation list, along with renting a Purdue University custom cap and gown. If you don’t request your rental before the commencement task list closes you may connect directly with our distributor using the link as follows: Purdue University (herffjones.com). Our distributor Herff Jones will ship to you the cap and gown, along with a prepaid envelope for you to mail back. You should receive your cap and gown within 10 business days of submitting your order, and you must return the gown by May 31. 

How can I purchase only the keepsake items (mortarboard, tassel, stole)?
Please reach out to a representative of distributor Herff Jones via email to purchase these items.

**Special note for international addresses** Due to COVID-19, Herff Jones is not currently shipping to international addresses.

What is the deadline for cap and gown rental?
The rental deadline at a discounted price is Friday, April 16 with distributor Herff Jones.  The last day to order cap and gown at full price is Friday, April 23. Those interested in rentals after April 23 should check with University Book Store.

Can I get a refund on my cap & gown?
Yes. If you cancel your order prior to receipt or you return it unopened, you can receive a refund. However, we do encourage you to consider renting the cap and gown for your special graduation photos.

How many guest tickets can I receive?
Due to state and county COVID constraints, a maximum of two guest tickets to the Spring 2021 commencement ceremonies is permitted per candidate at this time.  If the guidelines change closer to the event, it is possible the ticket amount may be increased to one or two additional.

Can I sell or give away any guest tickets that my family doesn't need?
No. Due to social distancing, all guest tickets will be assigned seating.  Selling something Purdue provided for free would violate our student code of conduct and could result in disciplinary action that could also jeopardize a graduate’s degree.  If you have unused tickets, please notify commencement@purdue.edu so tickets can be reallocated.

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions ceremony visitors should know about?
After classes end, parents and families will be permitted to attend graduation/award celebrations the week of May 10-16. The visitor policy is amended for this week only (May 10-16).  All visitors need to be fully aware of and completely adhere to the Protect Purdue Plan. In particular, campus face mask policies will be enforced. (Commencement guest speakers will be permitted to remove their masks while speaking at the podium.)

Will the ceremonies be live-streamed?
Yes.  Both ceremonies, Saturday (May 15 at 10 a.m.) and Sunday (May 16 at 10 a.m.) will be available to watch day of on our website at www.purdue.edu/commencement.

Is tailgating permitted the weekend of graduation?
Due to COVID restrictions, no tailgating will be permitted on campus.

When can I expect to receive my diploma?
For the Saturday, May 15 ceremony, diplomas will be available when you check in at the Lambert Fieldhouse providing you were cleared for your degree by your college.  If you are in the Sunday, May 16 ceremony, diplomas will be given as you walk across the stage providing you were cleared for your degree by the Graduate school.  For both ceremonies, in order to receive your diploma, you must have indicated participation via the commencement task list. Candidates who are not participating in the ceremony should expect to receive their diploma by approximately June 30.

Why do I need to provide a diploma address?
If you attend commencement and are cleared for your degree, you will receive your diploma during check-in at Lambert Field House for the Saturday ceremony, and as you walk across the stage in Elliott Hall for the Sunday ceremony. However, not all students will be cleared at that time and not all students will choose to attend the ceremony.  For this reason, you are required to provide an accurate diploma mailing address.  This should be the address you expect to be at 4-6 weeks following graduation.  Even if your local or permanent address is correct, we still need a specific diploma address.  If you do not provide one, it will likely delay the arrival of your diploma.

Who do I contact if I haven't received my diploma?
If you still haven’t received your diploma after June 30, you can contact Commencement staff via email, making sure to include your PUID number so that we can investigate.

Why isn't my major printed on my diploma?
Per Purdue University regulations, very few majors are part of the degree name. Your degree name only is printed on the diploma. Majors, minors and areas of concentration will appear on your transcript.

Why did I receive only one diploma when I completed two degrees?
Those who complete more than one major within the same college receive one degree and one diploma. All majors, minors and areas of concentration will appear on your transcripts.

When should I expect to see my degree posted on my transcript?
Our goal is to post this information during the week of May 17. We can only post degrees for those candidates who were cleared by their college.

Why didn't Purdue just postpone graduation?
Purdue administrators made the decision they felt was best given the information available at the time a decision was necessary.

Does Purdue allow students to only walk with "their class"?
No. Students routinely elect to participate in a ceremony with students they didn’t enter college with for a variety of reasons, including early completion, delayed completion and travel constraints. We ensure that each traditional in-person ceremony looks the same, with a personal recognition of each participating graduate.

Does this ceremony information also apply to Purdue Northwest, Purdue Fort Wayne, Polytechnic Statewide, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Purdue Global?
No. It is for Purdue West Lafayette only. Candidates should visit the websites of each campus for campus-specific graduation information.

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