Commencement | Webster University

Webster University Commencement 2020

Virtual Commencement to be Held for Class of 2020; School & College Events Added to Homecoming & Alumni Weekend

Updated: March 20, 2020

Webster University has announced plans to alter its commencement for the 2020 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University-wide ceremony will now be held as a virtual commencement for the Class of 2020, while individual school and college events will be held during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend Sept 25-26, assuming gatherings of that size will be deemed safe for everyone.

The health and safety of the Webster University global community continues to be of the highest priority. These alternate plans follow recent public health recommendations to limit person-to-person contact and restrictions on large gatherings that will extend through Webster’s originally planned ceremony at The Muny theatre on May 9, 2020. Webster’s main commencement ceremony in St. Louis typically attracts 1,000 graduates and up to 10,000 guests. Each year many graduates from Webster campuses across the United States and around the world fly to St. Louis to attend this ceremony.

During the Homecoming & Alumni weekend on the main campus, each school and college event will allow 2020 graduates to congregate and walk with their fellow alumni and celebrate their accomplishments.

“At the end of each academic year, we look forward to coming together as a university community to celebrate each student’s accomplishments with family and friends.,” said Webster University Chancellor Elizabeth Stroble. “We recognize these sentiments are shared by all universities and graduates. These are hard decisions to make. We deeply appreciate the significance of the ceremonies for our graduates, as well as for our institution.”

As Webster University has for the past 100 years, it will recognize graduates for their persistence and success. While circumstances prohibit gathering together in a physical space in May, technology allows the University to unite virtually – and involve graduates from its campuses on four continents around the globe.

“Under difficult circumstances, Webster will continue to do its best to acknowledge and celebrate the success of its students,” said President Julian Z. Schuster. “These alternative ceremonies are a reflection of Webster’s student-centered values.”

The Bookstore is closed to visitors during pandemic precautions, but graduates who wish to purchase regalia (cap and gown) can contact the Bookstore at 0354mgr@follett.com

As public advisories about the pandemic escalated, Webster’s Office of Special Events began exploring alternative ideas to celebrate the Class of 2020. At the same time, the Office received calls from pending graduates and families seeking guidance on their plans. The Muny also notified Webster that St. Louis City restrictions for public events prevented them hosting ceremonies as planned. Given these uncertainties, Webster began developing this alternate, virtual event, bolstered by the accompanying in person college ceremonies.

Further details regarding the 2020 Commencement Virtual Ceremony and Homecoming & Alumni Weekend events are forthcoming. Communications will be made directly with graduates and the Commencement website (webster.edu/commencement) will be updated with further information.

Over its history of 100 annual commencement ceremonies, Webster has held the event in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues – from Powell Symphony Hall and The Muny to the St. Louis Arena and the Webster University Loretto-Hilton Center. The 101st main ceremony will mark a new venue, but one accessible to the entire world as it navigates a global public health issue. We look forward to celebrating with our graduates later this year.

Commencement Questions

Updated: April 10, 2020 

When will the virtual commencement ceremony take place? 

The virtual ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 9 at 9:30 a.m. CT. You will be able to view the event by logging onto www.webster.edu/commencement 

What will the event include? 

The virtual commencement ceremony will include all of the pomp and circumstance of our traditional commencement ceremonyThe event will include a virtual flag ceremony similar to the opening procession of our ceremony at the Muny followed by speeches from University leadership including Chancellor Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble and President Julian Z. Schuster. Vladimir Ivkovic, an expert on the neurological effects of spaceflight and extreme environments on human health and performance, will deliver the commencement address to our graduates. We will also have speeches from the President of the Webster University Board of Trustees and the President of our Alumni Board.  

Will my name be read? 

At the end of the virtual commencement ceremony, we will be scrolling the names of the graduates from our St. Louis metro campuses.  

Do I need to RSVP for this event?  

RSVPs are not required to attend the Virtual Commencement Ceremony. All St. Louis metro graduates will automatically be included in the list of names scrolling at the end of the ceremony.  

What if I already RSVPed for the event at the Muny but I am not from a St. Louis metro campus? 

While all of our graduates from around our global network are invited to view the Virtual Commencement Ceremony, only the names of the St. Louis metro graduates will be included in the scrolling list. We do invite you to attend our individual school and college events to be held during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend Sept 25-26. We will extend an invitation to all of our graduates to that event at a later date and we will ask people to RSVP for that event.  

Will I need to rent a cap and gown for the virtual ceremony?  

Wearing a cap and gown is not required for viewing the virtual ceremony. However, if you would like to purchase one for photos or for our event in September, you can contact our Bookstore. The Bookstore is closed to visitors during pandemic precautions, but graduates can contact the Bookstore at 0354mgr@follett.com.  

Where can I learn more about the school and college events to be held during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend? 

Homecoming and Alumni Weekend will take place Sept 25-26. We are still organizing the details of these individual events and more information will posted online at www.webster.edu/commencement and communicated to the graduates as it becomes finalized.  

I am graduating from one of the other campus locations, how can I find out what my campus is doing for commencement?  

As Covid-19 has affected so many of our campus locations in different ways, we encourage you to reach out directly to your campus director to find out if your local ceremony has been canceled or postponed.  

When can I expect my diploma to arrive?  

All diplomas are mailed out by the Registrar’s office after students are approved to graduate. The diplomas are mailed to the address posted in Connections 8–12 weeks after the term ends.  

For all questions related to Commencement ceremony logistics, please contact Special Events at (314) 246-6959 or specialevents@webster.edu