Commencement Information

Spring 2021 Commencement will be May 6, 7, and 8.

Please check back often for the most up to date information.

Ceremonies will be held in two outdoor locations (and will be live-streamed at www.cofc.edu from both locations). 

  • They are scheduled to be held from Thursday May 6 to Saturday May 8. Sunday May 9 will be the make up date for any weather impacted ceremonies.
  •  Please note that a graduation application is required before a student is eligible to participate in a ceremony. 
  •  An updated Q&A will be added soon to address frequently asked questions related to the 2021 ceremonies, whether you are attending in-person or virtually. 
  •  There is information below that may answer your questions now.

Important Dates

Tuesday, April 27, 12:00 PM - Final date for candidates to register their participation.

Thursday, May 6, 2:00 - 4:00 PM - Ceremony at College of Charleston Patriots Point Soccer Stadium with in-person guests with all seven schools participating. Please note this ceremony is in a stadium with no shade. Please dress accordingly and wear sunscreen. Concessions will be open. Candidates need to arrive at 12:30 PM.

Friday, May 7, 2:00 - 3:30 PM - Ceremony for School of Humanities and Social Sciences in College of Charleston Cistern Yard with outdoor satellite locations for guests. Candidates need to arrive at 12:30 PM.

Friday, May 7, 6:00 - 7:30 PM - Ceremony for the Graduate School; School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs and School of Sciences and Mathematics in College of Charleston Cistern Yard with outdoor satellite locations for guests. Candidates need to arrive at 4:30 PM.

Saturday, May 8, 9:00 - 10:30 AM - Ceremony for School of Business in College of Charleston Cistern Yard with outdoor satellite locations for guests. Candidates need to arrive at 7:30 AM.

Saturday, May 8, 1:00 - 2:30 PM - Ceremony for School of the Arts and School of Education, Health, and Human Performance in College of Charleston Cistern Yard with outdoor satellite locations for guests. Candidates need to arrive at 11:30 AM.

Saturday, May 8, 4:00 – 5:30 PM Tentative

Due to COVID restrictions and changes made by students after a certain date, it may be necessary to schedule an extra ceremony in Cistern Yard to accommodate all of these late changes and additions.  All efforts will be made to place students in those Cistern ceremonies listed above, but if safety cannot be maintained, this Saturday ceremony will be necessary. All graduates steered to this ceremony will be notified via email.

Sunday, May 9, Times TBD - Make-up date for any weather-impacted ceremonies from May 6 to 8

Choices

Cistern Yard ceremonies, with named school participation outlined above, are quickly filling. Once a ceremony is full, and a student either changes to a ceremony in Cistern Yard, or elects to participate for the first time in Cistern Yard, the student will be placed into another ceremony in Cistern Yard and will be notified of the fact via email. If this does occur, that student will not walk with their school, but will still have the traditional ceremony.

Once all ceremonies are full, and if it is necessary to accommodate changes and late responders,  students will be placed in a cistern ceremony,  inclusive of the seven schools at 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 8. 

PLEASE NOTE: The deadline to make any changes or be included is Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 PM ET. After that date, it will not be possible to include you.

A review of the process:

Early in the semester, a survey was sent to 2,107 eligible candidates (from Fall 2020 through Spring/Summer 2021). Sixty-three percent (63%) of respondents favored the traditional ceremony in the Cistern Yard without an in-person audience possible (due to COVID-19 restrictions), while 37% favored a ceremony off our main campus in an outdoor venue to allow for an in-person audience. The College’s Patriots Point Soccer Stadium will be that outdoor venue. 

Ceremonies will be held in both locations (and will be live-streamed from both locations), and you will be able to register for the option of your choice. You may also elect not to participate or to participate virtually and have your name read only at the Patriots Point ceremony.

If you would like to see how the ceremonies in Cistern Yard will be, please view this video. Virtual participant’s names will be read at the Patriots Point ceremony only, not in Cistern Yard ceremonies.

 


COVID-19 Protocols

Guests: In order to keep social distance in Cistern Yard, guests are not permitted at these ceremonies. This, unfortunately, has no exceptions. No guests of any type, including family members, friends or faculty, can be present. Only your school’s dean will participate as part of a scaled back platform party.

For the ceremony at Patriots Point, each participant will receive four general admission tickets. For the ceremonies in Cistern Yard, each participant will receive two general admission tickets for a satellite location. No faculty will be present and only your school’s dean will participate as part of a scaled back platform party.

Testing:

In our ongoing efforts to keep positive cases out of the general population, the College will be offering testing for students, faculty, staff and guests at Stern Center on the corner of Glebe and George streets.

Tuesday 5.4.21, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - DHEC, open to students, faculty, staff, guests and the greater Charleston community

If you are a student, faculty or staff and participating in a ceremony, please test according to the following timeline:

Monday 5.3.21, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - MUSC, open to students, faculty and staff participating in the Thursday, May 6th ceremony at Patriot's Point

Tuesday 5.4.21, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. - DHEC, open to students, faculty, staff participating in the Friday, May 7th ceremonies in Cistern Yard

Wednesday 5.5.21, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - MUSC, open to students, faculty and staff participating in the Saturday, May 8th ceremonies in Cistern Yard

Students, faculty, and staff who choose to get tested for COVID-19 at a location other than on-campus should report any COVID-19 positive test results to our Back on the Bricks reporting site at https://cofc.edu/back-on-the-bricks/. For those tested on campus at the above dates, test results will be automatically sent to the College.

Face Coverings: Face coverings must always be worn correctly at all times except as noted. As you line-up to have your name called, three photographs will be taken in quick succession, and you do not have to wear your face covering for these photographs. Your covering can stay off for these three professional photo shots: 1. before your name is called in the line-up, 2. at a safe social distance on the Cistern or on stage at Patriots Point field with President Hsu and 3. immediately after the photo with President Hsu. Note: There will be no diplomas handed out and no handshakes. After your three photographs have been taken, please immediately put your face covering back on.

Social Distancing: This will be a no-contact event, and social distancing is mandatory. Master’s graduates will process wearing their hoods, instead of the traditional “hooding” of graduates.

Virtual ViewingThe ceremonies will be live-streamed, and approximately three weeks later, the ceremony videos will be available on the commencement website. Please note that the satellite locations outlined below are exactly the same experience as from the comfort of any other location with a device with internet connectivity.  The venues are in open spaces with very little shade so please dress accordingly and wear sunscreen.

In an effort to accommodate graduates’ guests to be near Cistern Yard, Rivers Green, Stern Garden and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building’s Courtyard will be set up as live-streaming satellite locations. Guests with tickets will be accommodated at these satellite locations on a first-come/first-served basis. Once the capacity of a venue is reached, guests will be directed to another site. Some chairs will be available, and guests are welcome to bring a blanket (no folding chairs) for the ground. There will be limited indoor seating for those who need relief from the heat. 

Please note that all ceremonies will be live streamed and available for viewing anywhere with a device with internet connectivity.

The ceremonies will be live-streamed, and approximately three weeks later, the ceremony videos will be available on the commencement website.

In an effort to accomodate the desire for graduates’ guests to be near Cistern Yard,  Cistern Yard ceremonies, Rivers Green, Stern Garden and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building’s Courtyard will be set up as live-streaming satellite locations for them. Guests with tickets will be accommodated at the satellite locations on a first-come/first-served basis. Once the capacity of a venue is reached, guests will be directed to another site. Some chairs will be available, and guests are welcome to bring a blanket (no folding chairs) for the ground. There will be limited indoor seating for those who need relief from the heat.

Rest assured that no matter which ceremony you attend, your health and well-being and that of your guests, remain our number-one priority.


Tickets

General admission tickets for guests at the downtown satellite locations, as well as those for guests attending the ceremony in-person at Patriots Point will automatically be released to participating candidates via their g.cofc.edu email accounts at a date closer to the ceremonies. Each student participating at Patriots Point Soccer Stadium will receive four general admission tickets. Each candidate in Cistern Yard will receive two general admission tickets for satellite locations.

Please note that all ceremonies will be live streamed and available for viewing anywhere with a device with internet connectivity.

Candidates will receive two emails; a confirmation email of participation in graduation and an email with all of the guest tickets, via mobile tickets. These mobile tickets can be downloaded to a smartphone or can be downloaded as a PDF and printed out. Please note, all tickets will be in one email.

If necessitated by health-related concerns or mandates by local, state or federal guidance, the College reserves the right to make changes to ceremony plans, including the number of in-person guests allowed after the release of tickets. While we do not foresee this happening, we highly recommend  that guests seek refundable travel plans where possible.

 


Who can Participate

All candidates who graduated in Spring/Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and all candidates eligible to graduate in Spring/Summer 2021 may participate in these Spring 2021 ceremonies, INCLUDING those who participated in the October 2020 ceremonies in Cistern Yard.


How to Participate

Eligible candidates from Fall 2020 and Spring/Summer 2021 received a Qualtrics Spring 2021 Commencement Participation Selection survey to indicate their participation choice. The survey closed Friday, March 26 at 12:00 PM ET. If you missed this deadline, you must email graduation@cofc.edu to indicate your choice/changes. Please include: 

  • First and Last Name
  • CWID
  • Participation selection
  • If you are a bachelors’ candidate with multiple majors, indicate the major with which you want to walk. You may only walk with one major, but all your earned majors will be called during the ceremony.

Once your eligibility is verified, you will receive an email to fill out the Qualtrics ceremony selection survey.  Once capacity is reached, you will be placed in a ceremony that still has availability and notified via email of your participation. 

The deadline to be added to a ceremony is Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 PM ET.

Eligible master’s candidates from Spring/Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring/Summer 2021 who want to participate must email Robyn Olejniczak, olejniczakrl@cofc.edu and include: 

  • First and Last Name 
  • CWID
  • Participation selection

Once your eligibility is verified, you will receive an email to fill out the Qualtrics ceremony selection survey.  Once capacity is reached, you will be placed in a ceremony that still has availability and notified via email of your participation. 

The deadline to be added to a ceremony is Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 PM ET.

Eligible bachelor’s candidates from Spring/Summer 2020 who want to participate must email Graduation@cofc.edu and include:

  • First and Last Name
  • CWID
  • Participation selection
  • If you are a bachelors’ candidate with multiple majors, indicate the major with which you want to walk. You may only walk with one major, but all your earned majors will be called during the ceremony.

Once your eligibility is verified, you will receive an email to fill out the Qualtrics ceremony selection survey. Once capacity is reached, you will be placed in a ceremony that still has availability and notified via email of your participation. 

The deadline to be added to a ceremony is Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 PM ET.

If you have already selected your participation mode and wish to change, you must email RSVP3@cofc.edu and include:

  • First and Last Name
  • CWID
  • Participation selection
  • If you are a bachelors’ candidate with multiple majors, indicate the major with which you want to walk. You may only walk with one major, but all your earned majors will be called during the ceremony.

You will then receive an email verifying your change or if the ceremony you selected is full, redirection to another ceremony.

The deadline to make changes to your participation is Tuesday, April 27 at 12:00 PM ET.

 


Participation Choices on the Survey

1. I do not wish to participate.

2. I wish to participate virtually. I understand that my name will be read at the ceremony at Patriots Point Soccer Stadium and that I will have the opportunity to provide a photo for a slide to be incorporated into the final edit of the commencement video, to appear with my name, earned honor(s), earned degree(s) and school(s). 

3. I wish to participate in Cistern Yard. I understand I will not have in-person guests in Cistern Yard but will have a limited number of ticketed guests in satellite locations.

4. I wish to participate in the ceremony at Patriots Point Soccer Stadium. I understand I will be allowed a limited number of in-person guests.

If necessitated by health-related concerns or mandates by local, state or federal guidance, the College reserves the right to make changes to ceremony plans, including the number of in-person guests allowed after the release of tickets. While we do not foresee this happening, we highly recommend guests seek refundable travel plans where possible.

 


Apply to Graduate

A graduation application is required before a student is eligible to participate in an upcoming commencement ceremony. Failure to complete the application promptly can result in a delay in both degree posting and diploma ordering, and it can also result in the student's name being omitted from the commencement program and ceremony ticket list. (Participation in commencement is assumed and encouraged, however, it is not mandatory. The Qualtrics Participation Choice survey is not a substitute for a graduation application. Please apply as directed.)

  » Undergraduate Student Graduation Application
  » Graduate Student Graduation Application