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Thousands of UW students to graduate Saturday at Camp Randall commencement ceremonies

May 3, 2021 By Doug Erickson

UW’s Senior Class Officers do a test run of a commencement celebration with Bucky Badger in Camp Randall Stadium. Photo: Bryce Richter

Just over 7,600 students will graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Saturday during two commencement ceremonies at Camp Randall.

As previously announced, these in-person gatherings — one for undergraduates, the other for all graduate degree candidates — will be limited to graduates only (no guests) because of the ongoing pandemic. The ceremonies will take place rain or shine.

Family members, friends and graduates who are unable to attend are invited to watch a livestream of the ceremonies, among other virtual engagement opportunities, at Anyone can offer a free video tribute to a graduate through the Parent and Family Program.

“Throughout the course of this past year, I have been impressed by the resilience and grace that the Class of 2021 has demonstrated in the face of upheaval and uncertainty,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who will speak at both ceremonies. “I want to extend a special thank you to the family and friends whose love and support has helped carry them through.”

Preliminary figures show 7,630 students will be earning degrees Saturday — 5,493 undergraduate students, 1,266 master’s degree students and 871 doctoral candidates. Check out some of the notable graduates in the Class of 2021.

The ceremony for undergraduates will begin at noon and feature Broadway star and UW alumnus André De Shields, who will give his keynote address by video. Senior Lusayo Mwakatika, who was selected to be the student commencement speaker, will offer remarks on behalf of the Class of 2021.

The ceremony for all graduate degree candidates, including doctoral, law, medical, professional, and master’s degree candidates, will begin at 4 p.m. and feature video remarks by John Gottman, one of the country’s most prominent psychologists. Gottman, a UW alumnus, will receive an honorary doctorate at the ceremony.

Adherence to health and safety protocols will be required at both ceremonies, including physical distancing, the wearing of face coverings, and completing COVID-19 testing or vaccination before the event. Students attending in-person were required to complete an online course with instructions for participation.

In addition to the in-person ceremonies, many schools, colleges, units, departments and organizations will be celebrating the Class of 2021 through virtual or other events. For instance, the Wisconsin School of Business will turn the east exterior of Grainger Hall into a light show to celebrate “The Power of 1,087 Business Badgers.” The event will begin at 8:30 p.m. Central Time on May 8 and can be watched live on Facebook. Check out the schedule of celebrations for all commencement-related events.

The Senior Class Office has selected the Social Justice Hub at UW–Madison as the Class of 2021 Senior Class Gift. Learn more about the 2021 Class Gift and how you can show your support.

Graduates, family and friends are encouraged to share their commencement experiences through social media using the hashtag #UWGrad. For more information on commencement, please see

Media interested in covering commencement are asked to contact Meredith McGlone at