Illinois State University will award approximately 956 baccalaureate degrees and 240 graduate degrees at the Winter 2021 Commencement, December 9-11. 

The University is providing options for celebrating this special occasion: an in-person commencement ceremony and a personalized Redbird Stage Crossing. A doctoral hooding ceremony will also be held.  

Each in-person commencement ceremony will last approximately one hour and take place in Redbird Arena on December 11. The combined ceremonies include the graduate processional, degree conferral, a symbolic tassel move for undergraduate students, and remarks by President Terri Goss Kinzy. There is no limit on the number of guests who may attend the in-person ceremony and no tickets are required. For those unsure which ceremony to attend, find the listing of departments or schools by college on the Commencement website

Combined ceremonies: 

  • 9 a.m. – College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Interdisciplinary University Studies, and Mennonite College of Nursing  
  • 1 p.m. – College of Applied Science and Technology, College of Business, and Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts  

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony: 

The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Friday, December 10, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center. During the ceremony, the student will be seated center stage while their name, dissertation/capstone title, and brief background of the student is read. Doctoral candidates interested in participating need to pre-register with the Graduate School.

Redbird Stage Crossing

Redbird Stage Crossing is a brief, individualized experience scheduled on an appointment basis between December 9-11 in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Graduates who registered will have their name read as they cross the stage and receive a diploma cover from a University representative. Each participating graduate selected their own timeslot; graduates are not grouped by college, department/school, or major. Unlimited guests are welcome and no guest tickets are required. However, only six guests may approach the stage viewing area with each graduate. Other guests are asked to be seated for viewing. 

For graduates who forgot to order regalia, a Jostens’ representative will have a limited amount available for purchase on a first-come, first served basis from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, December 8, in the Student Services Building, Room 387. 

More information on schedules, directions, and streaming can be found on the Graduation Services website or by emailing