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A time-honored tradition returns to campus

ASU prepares for first in-person graduation ceremonies since 2019

Three students in graduation gowns and caps make the pitchfork gesture; one is unmasked and two have masks on
December 08, 2021

Sun Devils are known for being able to withstand the heat, especially during trying times. 

But nothing feels better to Sun Devils right now than being able to celebrate one of ASU’s biggest events in the crisp Arizona winter after a pandemic pause. 

Students, along with their friends and family, will celebrate their accomplishments during in-person commencement for the first time since fall 2019. This year’s graduation ceremonies run Dec. 11–16, with the main undergraduate and graduate commencement on Dec. 13. Students who completed coursework in 2020 or May 2021 are invited to participate in the fall 2021 ceremonies.

Nearly 10,400 ASU students will graduate this fall — a 10% increase from fall 2020 — including nearly 5,500 ASU Online students, an 18% increase over last fall. 

Of the overall student total, more than 7,000 are undergraduate and about 3,000 are graduate students. Nearly 3,500 students will graduate with honors, a 17% increase over last fall, and about 5,000 of the new fall graduates are from Arizona, a 5% increase. 

The biggest group of graduates comes from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, followed by the Ira. A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The colleges with the largest growth in graduates include the College of Global Futures and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

RELATED: Meet some of the notable ASU grads from fall 2021

Students, faculty and staff are excited to celebrate this milestone in person again. Last year, ASU’s colleges worked extra hard to host a variety of in-person celebrations in addition to their virtual convocations. And prior to that, all events were virtual-only, due to the pandemic.

“ASU staff found ways to continue to celebrate students even when we couldn’t gather in person. Now that we can come together again, their energy and enthusiasm is incredible,” said Melissa Werner, executive director of the Office of University Events and Protocol and the Office of University Ceremonies.

ASU is making it possible for prior students to celebrate the traditional way.

“We will offer the same opportunity to students from 2020 and spring of 2021 to participate in ceremonies this coming May as well,” Werner said. 

Anticipating a larger turnout than normal for fall graduation, the undergraduate commencement and the convocation events for the W. P. Carey School of Business and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be held in Sun Devil Stadium.

“This will allow graduates to invite as many guests as they would like and keep our largest ceremonies outdoors,” said Werner. 

Graduate commencement is at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13, followed by undergraduate commencement at 3 p.m.

Three students in graduation gowns and caps make the pitchfork gesture; one is unmasked and two have masks on

From left: Erika Black, business (sustainability) and supply chain management; Andrew Coleman, supply chain management; and Tierra Houston, biological sciences (biomedical sciences), are among the nearly 10,400 ASU students graduating this December. Photo by Jenny Dupuis and Laura Fields/ASU

Convocation by academic unit 

(All times Mountain Standard.)

Barrett, The Honors College
College of Global Futures
College of Health Solutions
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m.

  • Where: Desert Financial Arena, Tempe campus.

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • When: Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m.

  • Where: Beus Center for Law and Society (Armstrong Great Hall), Downtown Phoenix campus.

  • Details:

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
W. P. Carey School of Business
Lake Havasu @ ASU

More resources

Health protocols

Face coverings are strongly recommended at commencement inside Sun Devil Stadium and in any crowded outdoor settings. For all indoor ceremonies (including off-site locations), face coverings will be required.

Graduates may remove their face covering while receiving a diploma and taking portrait photos with Grad Images. Signage will be placed to indicate when individuals may remove their face covering.

Vaccinations will not be required for students and guests to attend an on-campus ceremony. The university continues to recommend strongly that people get vaccinated. Greater rates of vaccination are the best tool available to reduce the rate of transmission in the community. Learn more at

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