Virtual commencement to celebrate spring graduates’ completion of degrees


The graduating class of spring 2020 will have virtual ceremonies for their commencement to prioritize their health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sage Smith

The class of spring 2020 will have a virtual-format commencement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Central Standard Time on May 9, virtual commencement ceremonies will be available for undergraduates, graduates and veterinary medicine graduates. The ceremonies can be found at

President Wendy Wintersteen sent out an email April 10 notifying the spring 2020 graduate candidates of the decision for a virtual commencement in order to prioritize everyone’s health and safety.

“We are excited to bring the pomp, circumstance and Iowa State commencement traditions to you wherever you may be in Iowa, the country or around the world,” Wintersteen said.

About 5,100 students at Iowa State are set to complete their degrees for the spring 2020 semester.

Each graduate candidate will be sent a special Graduation CYlebration gift with their diploma cover, souvenir tassel and celebratory streamer tube by mail before May 9. To receive these items, students will have to submit a request in AccessPlus by 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on April 24.

Academic attire can be purchased from the Iowa State Book Store as a memento. There has been an update to the Commencement Cancellation Return Policy; all returns will be accepted by mail and in-store once the Book Store reopens.

Doctorate candidates and faculty who have ordered their rentals online are asked to ship their gowns back using the call tag included in their order. Any questions about the return policy can be emailed to [email protected].

Wintersteen said that while the ceremonies can’t be an in-person experience, they are developing creative ways to honor the student’s achievement. The colleges are creating their plans to move their ceremonies online.

All spring 2020 graduates will have the opportunity to walk across the commencement stage, as they are all invited to return to campus in December or May 2021 to participate in the events of graduation.

“We know that commencement is one of the most important and special events that our university holds,” Wintersteen said. “Your years of hard work, dedication and focused study deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

In Wintersteen’s April 10 message, she said she knows a virtual commencement is not the end students imagined having to their Iowa State adventure, but the spring 2020 graduating class will “forever share a special place in history.”

“This pandemic has challenged you in unprecedented ways,” Wintersteen said. “And I am so very proud of the strength of your Cyclone spirit.”