Lehigh Campus

Update: Lehigh Plans In-Person Commencements for Class of 2021, Class of 2020

In order to safely celebrate graduates, the university will host two sessions for undergraduates in the Class of 2021. Additional, separate ceremonies are planned for the Class of 2020 and doctoral students from both classes. 

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Following guidelines from public health officials, Lehigh plans to host separate, in-person Commencement ceremonies May 21-24 for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020, whose celebration was held virtually last year because of the pandemic.

UPDATED: Lehigh will confer undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2021 in a 10 a.m. ceremony on Monday, May 24, at the Murray H. Goodman Stadium on the Goodman campus. Based on the number of graduates who plan to attend the 153rd Commencement, Lehigh will hold an additional ceremony for 2021 graduates at 2 p.m. on that date. The first session will be for undergraduates receiving degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Business. The second session will be for undergraduates from the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and interdisciplinary programs.

Lehigh also will hold a 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 22, at the Murray H. Goodman Stadium to recognize undergraduates in the Class of 2020, whose degrees were conferred last spring. 

A combined Commencement ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, May 21, at the Murray H. Goodman Stadium for those receiving their master’s degrees and their doctoral degrees in the Class of 2021, as well as for those who received their master’s degrees and their doctoral degrees as part of the Class of 2020. 

In addition to the in-person ceremonies, the university will host a Virtual Commencement Address and Celebration Kickoff at 1 p.m. (ET) on Friday, May 21. The event will feature an address from former NASA astronaut and Lehigh mechanical engineering and mechanics professor Terry Hart ’68. Hart was a member of NASA’s “Group 8”—the first selection of space shuttle astronaut candidates in nine years—and later joined NASA’s 11th space shuttle mission aboard the STS 41-C Challenger, launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 6, 1984.

More detailed information about the ceremonies will be announced in early May. Currently, per CDC and state guidelines, each graduate will be able to have four guests attend. Information on the doctoral Hooding ceremony also will be announced at a later date.

“I am pleased that our graduating seniorsboth this year’s and last year’swill have the opportunity to celebrate their achievements together,” said Lehigh President John D. Simon ’19P. “These have been challenging times for us all, and it is our hope that these Commencement ceremonies will be an opportunity to reflect on all that we have accomplished together through the many uncertainties of the past year.”

Added Provost Nathan Urban, who leads Lehigh’s COVID-19 Response Team: “As we move forward with plans to celebrate this milestone with our graduates, everyone should be confident that Lehigh will maintain health and safety protocols so that we can continue to keep our students, their families and everyone in the Bethlehem, Pa. community safe. Getting to this day has required hard work and dedication from the students as well as many other members of the university community. It is our hope that the challenges that people have overcome in some way make this commencement even more meaningful."

For the in-person ceremonies, all graduates and their guests, as well as faculty and staff will be required to complete the HawkWatch Self- Assessment to be allowed access onto Goodman campus. Masks will be required at all times. 

Graduates must notify Lehigh by April 26 if they plan to participate in the in-person ceremonies. For more detailed information, visit Lehigh’s Commencement site. 

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

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