Fall 2020 COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 Update

 Due to the ongoing pandemic response, UW–Madison will confer more than 2,000 degrees on Dec. 13 via a virtual commencement celebration.

“As we did in the spring, we will do our very best this winter to honor our graduates and their accomplishments while keeping everyone healthy and safe,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Later, we will find an opportunity for these graduates to celebrate in person with family and friends.”

In consultation with the senior class officers, we are developing a virtual commencement for all graduates to watch in celebration of the successful completion of your studies. A virtual Commencement celebration experience will be created for graduates, families and guests to celebrate together, while apart, on Sunday, December 13. More details will be shared with graduates as they are finalized. Our Senior Class Officers are also helping us design an in-person ceremony that we’ll host when we emerge from this public health crisis, for everyone who can attend.

We are so proud of all of our graduates. We are living through an experience that shapes a generation, and while you will all have different reactions to this news, know that we are proud of our Badgers for your continued grace, resilience, and compassion during these difficult times.

Note: There are currently no updates in regards to rescheduling the Spring 2020 ceremony. As more information becomes available we will share it here, and by email to all graduating students.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Am I still graduating?

Yes, you do not need an in-person ceremony in order to graduate. As long as you are meeting degree requirements, you will still receive your diploma 6-8 weeks after grades are submitted.

Should I still apply to graduate?

Yes, complete the Apply to Graduate application in the Student Center of your MyUW.  If you are applying after Friday, November 6, and you would like your name included in the program, please complete this online Qualtrics form by Tuesday, November 17 to be manually added to the graduate list. Information regarding the program can be found in the FAQ section.

Will there be a Ceremony at a future date?

Yes, we are working on an alternate event that will bring together graduates of the Class of 2020 to formally recognize their accomplishments, and celebrate this important achievement. We will provide additional details on timing as soon as possible by email, and on our commencement website.

Will there still be a Commencement program?

Yes, we will provide a program online via PDF during the week of Commencement (December 7-14). Graduates can also request a printed copy to be mailed to a home address of their choosing, for commemorative purposes. You can request your printed programs by completing this online form by Monday, December 28. Programs will be mailed starting January 25.

Will I still receive my diploma?

Diplomas will be mailed along with the University of Wisconsin diploma folder/cover. Please be sure to update your Diploma Address in MyUW to ensure that these items reach you at the correct address. You can view step-by-step instructions for updating your address. These items will be mailed out 6–8 weeks after semester grades have been submitted.

Will I still receive a diploma cover?

Yes, diploma covers will be mailed with the diploma and will be sent to the address provided under Diploma Address in your MyUW. Please be sure to update your Diploma Address in MyUW to ensure that these items reach you at the correct address. You can view step-by-step instructions for updating your address.

Can I still receive my Cap and Gown for Commemorative Pictures?

Yes, the University Book Store is placing rental and purchase orders for attire. If you have not yet made your reservation, you can learn about the attire options and timeline on the University Book Store graduation website.

Will schools, colleges, departments, units and campus organizations still have events to recognize graduates?

University-sponsored gatherings of large groups of people (no greater than 10) are canceled. That means that in addition to our primary Commencement ceremony, graduation celebrations in schools, colleges, departments and campus organizations will not go forward as planned. Schools, Colleges, Departments and Organizations across campus are working on ways to celebrate with graduates virtually. Visit our Celebration Events page for more details.

What will the virtual ceremony include?

Senior Class Officers are being consulted on the content and will work closely with university leadership to provide a meaningful and commemorative way to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Class of 2020. Your degree will be conferred, and we will include remarks from our keynote speaker, Rose Lavelle (’17). You can read more about our keynote speaker here.

Can I attend the Spring 2021 ceremony?

Yes, you can participate in a future ceremony. In order to indicate your preference, please go to the Apply to Graduate section of your MyUW Student Center and indicate which ceremony you intend to participate in. You can select Winter 2020 at this time, and Spring 2021. Step by Step instructions are also available.

Will there be a Class of 2020 Senior Class Gift?

Yes, the Senior Class Office has selected the National Alliance on Mental Health at UW–Madison, and the Green Bandana Project, a student organization created by a Badger alum, as the Class of 2020 Senior Class Gift. You can support the Class Gift, and watch your email for more information about additional opportunities to learn more and get involved.

My family has already made travel plans. Can they still come to Madison for Commencement Weekend?

Travel to Madison is not advised at this time. However, most airlines and hotels are offering refunds or credits due to the current circumstances. Please check with your airline, hotel or travel provider for information.

Commencement Speaker Announcements