Concluding an academic year spent largely in remote learning mode due to the global coronavirus pandemic, UC Santa Barbara will award degrees to a combined 6,893 students, both undergraduate and graduate, for 2020-2021.
The campus again is unable to host its traditional ceremonies due to public health orders placing restrictions on large public gatherings, but there is an in-person event this year, modified to give graduates the flavor of commencement while observing COVID-safe practices.
The pomp and circumstance for the Class of 2021 begin June 7-10, when the Grad Walk processional will allow graduating students to hear their names called, cross a stage and be photographed in front of the campus lagoon with loved ones looking on. Each graduate is allowed to have two accompanying guests. Graduates from the Class of 2020, who weren’t able to have an in-person experience due to the coronavirus pandemic, also were invited to join the Grad Walk. (Reservations have already closed for the on-site event, but all supporters are welcome to watch via livestream; a link will be available on June 7).
The official Class of 2021 online commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 12. A celebration for graduates will feature a live-streamed keynote graduation address by media executive, talk show host, author and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey.
Events on June 12 will also include multiple virtual celebrations arranged by the university’s schools, academic divisions and departments.