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Congratulations, graduates! | Socially distanced ceremonies celebrate UT grads at Neyland Stadium

Graduates will have a chance to walk across the stage with families watching at Neyland Stadium over the weekend.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After several long years spent studying and working to pass tests, and one year filled with changes and challenges, students at the University of Tennessee will have a chance to walk on stage and grab their degrees.

The ceremonies will be on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Neyland Stadium. They are expected to last around two-and-a-half hours and attendance will be limited. Programs were mailed to graduates, according to university officials. Families can also watch the ceremonies online.

Last year's graduation ceremonies were held digitally, due to the pandemic. The university launched a webpage celebrating graduates instead of holding an event, which included videos from college deans and some other speakers. It only stayed online for a year, according to officials with the university.

Masks are required at all times for graduates, guests and staff during this year's events. Ceremonies are also limited to 1,000 graduates with limits on the number of guests. Tickets are required for everyone who wants to attend and cheer on graduates.

The schedule for commencement ceremonies is below:

Friday, May 7

  • Haslam College of Business: 10 a.m.
  • Graduate and Professional Hooding (including Law and Veterinary Medicine): 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 8

  • College of Architecture and Design, College of Communication and Information, College of Social Work and Tickle College of Engineering: 10 a.m.
  • College of Education, Health, Human Sciences, College of Nursing and Herbert College of Agriculture: 4 p.m.

Sunday, May 9

  • College of Arts & Sciences: 1 p.m.

Seating for groups will be randomly assigned and socially distanced from other groups. Group photos will also not be allowed on the field. Doors will open for guests 90 minutes before the start of the ceremony at Gate 21.

Orange and white balloons will mark the entrance where graduates can enter Neyland Stadium, at Gate 21A. Graduates will not sit back down after crossing the ramp. Instead, they will be directed to a backstage area where professional photographers will take their photos. Graduates will be able to remove their masks for it.

They will then exit the stadium in the same place they entered, and they are encouraged to plan to meet up with guests in the parking garage or elsewhere after the ceremony. There will be pauses during the ceremony to give guests a chance to leave without disrupting the ceremony.

Metal detectors will be in place and guests will be screened on entry. A clear bag policy will also be in place.

Venue spaces and surfaces will be cleaned each night, officials said.