Frequently Asked Questions

The following three groups of individuals may be eligible to participate in the upcoming commencement stage experience if they meet all of the listed guidelines. There will be NO exceptions to the criteria listed below. Please note that students can only participate in the stage experience for the semester in which they are FIRST eligible (based upon the term for which the student submitted an online graduation application).  Students cannot participate in more than one ceremony for the same degree program. Therefore, if you have already participated in or were eligible to participate in a PREVIOUS ceremony, you may not participate again.


  • Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 Graduates: 

These graduates are automatically eligible to participate.  

  • Spring 2021 Candidates: 

A Spring 2021 graduation application must be on file in the Office of Records and Registration no later than February 19, 2021 

  • Summer 2021 Candidates: 

A Summer 2021 graduation application must be on file in the Office of Records and Registration no later than February 19, 2021.  In addition, an approved Student Petition Form requesting to participate in the ceremony must also be on file in the Office of Records and Registration by February 19, 2021.     


*For questions regarding eligibility, please contact the Registrar’s Office: or 217-20-7730 

After checking in near the Bookstore in the lower level of PAC, your group of 7 other students and 48 total guests will view a sneak peek of the May 15 virtual celebration. Once in Sangamon Auditorium, guests will be directed to one of eight pods in the Orchestra section. Graduates will go onto the stage where they will be greeted by the Chancellor. After her welcome, students will have their name announced, receive a UIS diploma cover, walk across the stage and pause to have their photo taken (by guests and a professional) with the Chancellor. 

This is a non-seated event and expected to take approximately 30 minutes from check-in to exit. 

Many of our peer institutions have opted for virtual-only observances, but graduating students across the nation have said the most important aspects of Commencement are hearing their name called, proceeding across a stage, receiving a diploma cover and getting their picture taken while their loved ones watch. The Stage Experience preserves those in-person moments while offering other components in a virtual experience.  

Additionally, the State of Illinois gathering guidelines limit indoor gatherings to 50 people

Up to six guests may accompany each graduate inside of the Public Affairs Center (PAC) and into Sangamon Auditorium. The graduate is required to register guests at the time they select a time slot. Per the Restore Illinois plan, UIS is limited by the number of individuals, regardless of age, in a single space. Though we wish we could allow each graduate to bring more than six guests, we must limit each graduate to six in order to make this opportunity available this year.  During the Stage Experience, guests will be able to photograph their graduate. 

Yes, may make changes to your guest list at the registration table the day of your Stage Experience. Each graduate is limited to no more than six guests. Regardless of age, each person, including children and infants, is considered to be one of the six guests.

Academic attire is required and can be purchased once you sign up for a Stage Experience time. 

Cords and stoles provided by Registered Student Organizations, Athletics and campus departments are managed individually by those organizations. Please reach out to your contact within that specific organization.  

All United in Safety protocols will be followed. These include: wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing. Additional information about these safety protocols will also be shared directly with graduates as they are finalized.  

Graduating students must wear their mask when they proceed across the stage and take their photograph. 

Yes, graduates will need to have and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test a minimum of 48 hours prior to the Stage Experience.  This can be through UIS or a vendor using a PCR test.


New Information regarding COVID testing.

Given the safety protocols we have put into place for this event and with the guidance given through the UIS COVID Rapid Response Team (CRRT), a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required for participation in the Stage Experience. However, graduating students who live, learn, work or train on campus should continue to follow their required on-campus testing protocol. All graduates are still encouraged to be tested, but a test result will not be required to show at check-in. Our United in Safety protocols, including face coverings and social distancing throughout your and your guests’ time while on campus, remain in effect.

University of Illinois Springfield diplomas are 8.5×11 inches and sent by first-class mail to a student’s diploma address approximately nine weeks after your conferral date.

The #UIS21 Graduate Celebration will launch at noon on Saturday, May 15. It will feature special videos, virtual gifts, messages to and from graduates and lots more to celebrate our 2021 graduates.  

When UIS originally announced that we’d strive for a ceremony for 2020 grads later that year, we did not yet fully understand the trajectory of the pandemic. We continue to evaluate options for an in-person experience for the Class of 2020 and will share news regarding those plans in the near future. Our goal is to ensure we can provide a memorable experience that appropriately honors and celebrates the unique class of 2020 while adhering to our United in Safety protocols. 

You and all of your guests should check in within 10 minutes of your designated registered time. For example, if your timeslot says 2:40, you and your guests should check in between 2:30 and 2:40. You will cross the stage approximately 20 minutes after your appointed timeslot.

Check-in will be in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center (near the Bookstore), Building No. 7 on the online map of the UIS campus.  Please enter using the lower, north entrance at the “Tear Drop” (end of Ernest Hemingway Drive).

The Stage Experience will be live streamed on May 13th & 14th. You can share this link with friends and family-  You should be on stage approximately 20 minutes after your appointed timeslot.

Parking on campus will be free on May 13 & 14. Participants are encouraged to park in Lots D & E (except in designated reserved spots), located on the west side of the Public Affairs Center.  Passengers may be dropped off at the main entrance to the Public Affairs Center, located in the accessible parking area.  Accessible parking will be designated in the “Tear Drop” circle, located at the north door of PAC (end of Ernest Hemingway Drive). For GPS use: 2200 Ernest Hemingway Drive. the online map of the UIS campus