Penn announces in-person Commencement ceremonies for those curtailed by COVID-19

The Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony was moved to an online only event in May 2020. Now members of the Class of 2020, as well as graduate members of the Class of 2021, will get an in-person celebration.

Aerial view of Commencement at Franklin Field.

The University of Pennsylvania today announced that it will hold an in-person University-wide Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 and for master’s and doctoral graduates of the Class of 2021 on May 22 at 10 a.m. on Franklin Field.

As the COVID-19 pandemic moved spring 2020 classes online, the Class of 2020 commemorated the University-wide 264th Commencement with a first-of-its-kind online salute to graduates on May 18, 2020. The ceremony included a conferral of degrees, a congratulatory message from 2020 Commencement speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and a special live-streamed performance by alumnus and EGOT winner John Legend.

COVID-19 restrictions also limited the in-person University-wide Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2021 held May 17, 2021, to undergraduate members of the class; master’s and doctoral graduates had to participate virtually.

“We are absolutely delighted to honor the distinguished academic achievements of the members of the Class of 2020 and 2021 who did not yet get to have an in-person ceremony,” says President Amy Gutmann. “We look forward to the opportunity to recognize their tenacity, resilience, and patience with a very special one-of-a-kind celebration.”

The event on May 22 will allow the Penn alumni who had their commencement curtailed by the pandemic, as well as family and friends, the chance to celebrate in person on Penn’s campus. All participants will be required to register for the event, with additional details on the Penn Alumni website at as they become available.