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Loyola to host in-person commencement ceremonies for Classes of 2020 and 2021

| By Molly Robey
Greyhound in graduation cap

Loyola University Maryland will host three in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. All Commencement ceremonies will be held at Loyola’s Ridley Athletic Complex. All events will be livestreamed to ensure that family and friends can participate even from afar.

Loyola is planning three ceremonies:

Master’s & Doctoral Candidates/Recipients in the Classes of 2020 and 2021
Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m.

Bachelor’s Degree Candidates in the Class of 2021
Saturday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m.

Bachelor’s Degree Recipients in the Class of 2020
 Saturday, May 22, at 2:30 p.m.

In this model, each participant would be permitted to bring two guests to the ceremony. Additional information about ticketing will be shared as plans come together.

“We are very excited to celebrate at a Loyola facility, and we look forward to making these ceremonies special and memorable for our students, graduates, and their families,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president. “We all know how plans have had to change over the course of the pandemic, so it's possible we will have to take a different approach, particularly as public health guidance changes. It is important, however, to give you dates and times so you can begin to plan, count down, and look forward to this celebration.” 

Playwright, actor, and professor Anna Deavere Smith, who had been identified as the Commencement speaker for the ceremony scheduled for May 2020, looks forward to addressing students and graduates after the disappointment of not being able to attend last year.

Smith has created more than 15 one-woman shows that delve into controversial topics that explore what she calls the “complex identities of America.” Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, which looks at the school-to-prison pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities, won an Obie Award, the 2017 Nortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, and was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine. Another play has been named a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, and one was nominated for a Tony.

Smith will receive a doctor of humane letters, honoris causa, from Loyola in person in New York and her remarks will be recorded to share at all the ceremonies.

In addition to the planned Commencement ceremonies, the University is also planning to have an in-person Baccalaureate Mass to be celebrated on a weekday prior to Commencement weekend. The University plans to allow members of the Class of 2020 and 2021 to attend in person while their families participate virtually. More information about the Baccalaureate Mass is forthcoming. 

Due to changes over the course of the pandemic, it's possible that a different approach with Commencement may have to be taken, particularly as public health guidance changes.

If, because of city guidelines, in-person ceremonies of this size for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 are unable to be held, multiple smaller ceremonies will be planned over the course of that weekend. 

More information about the upcoming events will be shared at a later date. Questions can be sent to, and additional information and updates will be posted on our Commencement website.

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