Roanoke College to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for Classes of 2020, 2021

Roanoke Valley News

Rooney celebrates graduates with confetti! (Courtesy: Roanoke College)

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke College is ready to welcome the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 to the Salem Football Stadium in a few weeks for separate in-person commencements, thus allowing graduates and guests to follow appropriate social distancing.

The college announced on Friday, April 30 the dates for those commencement ceremonies, which will be held rain or shine:

  • Saturday, May 22 at 10 a.m. for the Class of 2020   
  • Saturday, May 29 at 10 a.m. for the Class of 2021  

Roanoke College says the guests of each graduate will need to arrive together and sit together in a designated “pod.” In addition, everyone in the venue need to wear masks and maintain at least six feet of physical distance.   

If you cannot make it to these in-person ceremonies, you can also watch the livestream remotely at   

Follow these links for more information from the commencement webpage, as well as answers to frequently asked questions and additional details about the Salem Football Stadium.

However, because of the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, school officials say they are also preparing for a virtual ceremony in case it becomes necessary.   

Several important deadlines for commencement are approaching soon. Please make your plans and reservations now.   

  • Friday, April 30: Deadline for indicating your plans to attend commencement ceremony and for registering the four guests that each graduate may invite. Click the link from that email sent to your account to let the college know if you plan to attend and who your guests will be. 
  • Monday, May 10: Deadline for submitting graduate photos for virtual ceremony video. However, if you submit their photos by April 30, you will be entered into a drawing for $100 gift card for the Roanoke College Campus Store.

“In addition to a photo of each graduate, we are also interested in your celebration videos,” Roanoke College said. “Whether you are a member of the Class of ‘20 celebrating at home in your living room, or the Class of ‘21 celebrating your impending graduation on campus or in Salem, we’d love to have clips to include in the College highlights.”

Chaplain Chris Bowen is reportedly planning the in-person Baccalaureate ceremony for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 in the Cregger Center Arena. Even though in-person attendance will be limited to the graduates, the ceremony will be streamed for all to view

  • Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. for the Class of 2020
  • Thursday, May 27 at 5 p.m. for the Class of 2021

School officials are working through ways to conduct other traditional Senior Week activities for each class, which will be announced in the coming weeks.   

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