St. Bonaventure University

News, Publications & Research

St. Bonaventure announces detailed Commencement plans for Class of 2021

Apr 15, 2021

St. Bonaventure University has announced its plans for Commencement next month, culminating with six ceremonies on Saturday, May 15, for the Class of 2021 to walk across the stage and receive their degrees.

“I can’t thank Caitlin Webster and Jen Burkardt in our Events Office enough for building a plan that I think will be as meaningful as it can be while still adhering to the safety protocols we need to during the pandemic,” said Dr. Joseph Zimmer, acting president. “We determined that, for students, the most important part of Commencement Day is crossing the stage to pick up their diplomas so that will be the focus of Saturday’s ceremonies.”

Each graduating student will be allowed to bring two guests. Photo opportunities will be available during the stage crossing and outside the Richter Center, where the ceremonies will be held. (The Reilly Center will be offline as it undergoes major infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the fall semester.)

Students will be emailed a survey Friday and are required to submit it no later than April 28 if they want to participate in their stage-crossing ceremony.

Students will need to indicate if they are participating, the number of guests they will be bringing (maximum of two), and the email addresses and phone numbers for themselves and each guest.

Students and their guests will need to provide proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks since their final shot) or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result received no more than 72 hours before May 15. Graduating students will be pool tested the week of Commencement, with results to be received less than 72 hours from May 15.

The tentative times* for the May 15 ceremonies, all of which will be livestreamed, are:

  • 9:30 a.m. – School of Graduate Studies (Master’s Degrees and Advanced Certificates)
  • 11 a.m. – School of Business
  • 12:30 p.m. – School of Education
  • 1:15 p.m. – Jandoli School of Communication
  • 2:30 p.m. – School of Arts and Sciences
  • 3:45 p.m. – School of Health Professions

*NOTE: The lineup of schools will not change but the start times might vary slightly depending on how many students register to participate within each school.

Other ceremonies traditionally held during Commencement Week will still be held in May; all of these events will be only for students (by invitation only) and relevant SBU staff members.

  • Sunday, May 2, 6 p.m.: Multicultural Stole Ceremony
  • Wednesday, May 12, 6 p.m.: University Ministries Prayer Service
  • Thursday, May 13, 1-4 p.m.: Senior Picnic (seniors only, must show wristband)
  • Thursday, May 13, 8:15 p.m.: 25th annual Candlelight Ceremony (event will be livestreamed)
  • Friday, May 14, 4 p.m.: Baccalaureate Mass, University Chapel (graduating students only by pre-registration; event will be livestreamed)
  • Saturday, May 15, 6 p.m.: ROTC Military Science Commissioning Ceremony at the Allegany American Legion

On Thursday, May 13, from 9 a.m. until noon, graduating students can pick up their Commencement passes for themselves and their guests and their wristbands for event participation.

The student speaker will be featured at the Candlelight Ceremony and not at the Saturday ceremonies.

Commencement updates will be posted at


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.