IWU Class of 2021 Commencement Details

April 30, 2021 

To the families of the Class of 2021, 

I know you have been anxiously awaiting information about Sunday’s Commencement ceremonies. Thank you for your patience! 

After much deliberation, given the weather forecast for rain Sunday evening and heavy winds of 25-30 mph throughout the day, we have made the decision to hold all three ceremonies inside the Shirk Center in the Activities Arena. (If you are not aware, we are holding a 6:30 p.m. ceremony for the Class of 2020). I know this may not be what you had hoped, but due to the complexity of the setup, we need to hold all three ceremonies in the same location. 

This message provides information regarding parking, tickets, and the ceremony itself. 

Please find here a campus map. We ask that you arrive no earlier than 90 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Parking is available in the Shirk Center lot and across Emerson Street if needed. There will be handicapped-accessible parking available and marked with an orange cone. Guests who need assistance may also be dropped off at the east door entrance. 

All guests will enter through the east door off the Shirk Center parking lot. If there is a line to get in, please use the “Stand Here” signs to maintain appropriate social distancing from other guests. Once you enter, a table will be set up where you will receive your tickets, programs, and a bottle of water for each member of your party. From there you will enter the Activities Arena to be seated. 

The setup for this year’s ceremonies is unique. In order to provide seating for as many guests as possible and our graduates, students will be seated around you on the track. We ask and appreciate you adhering to the following guidelines to help keep everything flowing smoothly and keep everyone safe: 

  • Please wear your face mask at all times and maintain appropriate social distancing from other guests. 
  • A professional photographer will be taking pictures of your graduate. Please refrain from standing up or approaching the stage to take your own pictures or setting up tripods for photo taking or video recording. 
  • When the ceremony concludes, please wait until all graduates have recessed back to the performance gym / basketball arena before exiting the arena.

Our keynote speaker is Geisha Williams, the first and only Latina CEO of a Fortune 200 company who has been recognized as the highest ranking Latina leader in business. Ms. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University, and has more than three decades of experience in the energy industry. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband Jay Williams, an Illinois Wesleyan University Class of 1979 alumnus. The title of her address is, “Who will face the challenges of tomorrow? Why not you?“ 

A live webcast of the ceremony will be streamed on our website so that those who cannot attend can still watch the entire ceremony: www.iwu.edu/commencement. 

The bookstore will be open this weekend on Saturday 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at janders3@iwu.edu or (309) 556-3780. We all look forward to seeing you on Sunday!