Commencent FAQ


How will Whittier College honor the Class of 2021?

Whittier College will host three celebrations for the Class of 2021:


  • A Virtual Commencement that will stream live on Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. The Virtual Commencement will include individual pages for each graduate featuring student-submitted photos, videos, and dedications, as well as content submitted by friends and family. 
  • An in-person Graduate Celebration on Saturday, May 22 at 9 a.m. in Memorial Stadium.
  • A traditional Commencement Ceremony on Friday, September 24, 2021, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Stadium. 



How can I participate in the Virtual Commencement?

All students who have filled out the participation form for the Virtual Commencement (May 21) and Cultural Graduations will receive an email requesting submissions on April 29. The timeline for these submissions changed to allow graduates more time to order their caps and gowns for senior photos. All graduates will have the opportunity to submit a photo(s), video, and/or dedication statement between April 29 - May 10. 

What will the in-person Graduate Celebration consist of?

The in-person Graduate Celebration for the Class of 2021 will abide by State and County COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for live, outdoor events. As such, the event will be limited in attendance, duration, and overall scope. Graduates will sit in assigned areas, with their two guests, in a 3-person pod. Each graduate’s name will be called and students will walk onto the field to pick up a diploma cover (official diplomas will be mailed). Graduates will then proceed to a photo station set up by GradImages. After the event, students and families will be asked to exit the Stadium in a measured fashion to help maintain social distancing.  

  • There will be no formal procession by students or faculty.
  • There will be no stage or stage party present. 
  • There will be no viewing area for students or other guests.  
  • The only staff and faculty that will be present will be volunteering/working the event. There is no seating area for faculty and/or staff. 
  • There will be no reception before or after the event. 

How many guests may I bring?

  • The event will be ticketed—each participant will be allowed to bring two (2) guests.
  • Graduates and their guests can be from no more than three households, per State and County guidelines.
  • No more than three people per pod will be allowed.  
  • No extra tickets will be available.
  • Tickets are non-transferable--graduates not attending the event cannot give their tickets to another graduate.

What do I need to do/show to enter Memorial Stadium for the May 22 event?

  • All graduates need to RSVP for the event. Your name must appear on the RSVP list. 
  • Graduates and guests must fill out the College’s wellness check on the day of the event and must be approved before entering the stadium. 
  • Graduates and guests should have ID and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, if applicable, with them. 
  • Participants must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

What are the Travel Restrictions for the May 22 event? 

  • Non-vaccinated individuals (including guests) must live within the state of California.
  • Participants who are vaccinated may travel from out of state and should consult the current California and Los Angeles County Travel Advisories and adhere to any applicable recommendations.
  • Please see the travel advisories for California and for Los Angeles County for further information.

Will the event be live streamed?

The Graduate Celebration will be filmed and posted to YouTube on the afternoon of May 22. The event may be live streamed if the set up in the stadium permits, more information will be provided during the first weeks of May.  

Will there be a reception after the May 22 event? 


Can I walk around campus and/or take photos on campus?

No. Whittier College checked with the Los Angeles County Dept. of Health about this specific matter and we were informed that this was not permitted. 

If the State of California or Los Angeles County lifts its restrictions on live, outdoor events will Whittier College relax its guidelines on this event?

No. Whittier College must submit a complete event plan to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at least 14 days before the event. Once the plan has been submitted, no further changes, adjustments, or expansions will be applied to the event’s capacity or safety regulations. However, the event may be subject to any new restrictions and limitations imposed by County and/or State health guidelines should COVID-19 cases increase in the weeks and days before May 22.

Is there a possibility that the May 22 event will be canceled?

While unlikely, YES, the event is subject to any new restrictions and limitations imposed by County and/or State health guidelines should COVID-19 cases increase in the weeks and days before May 22. Graduates will be kept informed of any changes. Please check your email regularly.

How can I RSVP for the May 22 event?

Only graduates may RSVP for the event. All graduates will have received a link to the registration form via email. Please email us if you have not. The final deadline for RSVPs is Friday, April 30.


Who can participate in the fall Commencement Ceremony?

Any Whittier College graduate from the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. 

Why is the "traditional" Commencement Ceremony taking place in the fall?

With the roll-out of the vaccines and a decline in cases in Los Angeles County, we feel confident that we can begin planning a Traditional Commencement Ceremony for this fall. This ceremony will take place Friday, September 24, 2021, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Stadium and will honor both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. 

How can I register for the fall ceremony?

More information on registration will come this summer.