2021 graduate information

About 2021 commencement celebrations

We had a mix of both in-person and virtual events in Fairbanks for the graduating Class of 2021. The in-person celebration included a kickoff celebration and graduate car parade at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 1, followed by the virtual ceremony at 4 p.m. Both were streamed on Facebook and YouTube

Read more about the plans for Commencement 2021, or check out our FAQs below.

 


Graduate checklist and timeline

  • Check your account balance.

    Check your UAOnline account to ensure your account balance has been paid in full, including your UAF graduation fee. Unpaid balances can prevent access to your diplomas, transcripts, and grades.

  • Purchase regalia and invitations soon.

    Orders for graduation regalia are still available for purchase. Please call the store at 907-474-6858, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F, to make arrangements and talk with an associate, or email 1191mgr@follett.com. Orders may take up to 4 weeks. Contact the bookstore if you need regalia in advance of submitting your photo to StageClip for your slide.

How to participate:

By April 5 — Don't miss this step!

  • Step 1 — locate the email with the subject line: Commencement 2021 - RSVP and record your name by April 5.
    • Log in using your unique link.
      There, you’ll choose the virtual ceremony, the drive-in celebration and graduate parade, or both.
    • Record your name.
      Regardless of the option you choose, you’ll need to login to Marching Order by midnight on April 5 to RSVP for either the in-person event or the virtual ceremony, and to ensure your name is pronounced correctly!

If you need help email uaf-commencement-team@alaska.edu.

By April 15 — Don't miss this step!

  • Step 2 — Once you receive an email from StageClip, upload the items to customize your graphics.

    Submit your photo, personal quote and a short video. You’ll have until April 15 to complete this step. You may wear your cap and gown, but it’s not required. Photos and video messages will be reviewed, so be sure your submissions are in keeping with this type of event. Please visit the criteria if you have questions about photos and video.

    • Upload your graduation photo.

      Cap and gown is encouraged but not required.

    • Include a personal announcement.

      (Up to 150 words.)

    • Submit a short (8-10 second) video shot vertically, like a TikTok video. Don’t include music.

      This will give your family and friends a chance to hear directly from you during the virtual ceremony.

April 19-24

Grad Bash graphic

May 1

  • Join the kickoff celebration and graduate car parade Saturday morning.

Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate with your fellow graduates. RSVP and tickets are required. See RSVP and ticket download and deadlines above.

The in-person drive-in ceremony take place at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday, May 1, in the Patty Center parking area and will last about an hour. This ticketed event is open only to graduates who signed up beforehand and those they bring with them in their car. This event will be immediately followed by a 2-mile graduate car parade around the campus at noon. The event will be webstreamed. See FAQ for details.

Parade route map

•     Graduates should arrive between 9:30-10:20 a.m. via Morris Thompson Drive.

•     There will be no through traffic on Tanana Loop in front of the Patty Center from 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

•     Those who want to cheer along the parade route should arrive around 11:30 a.m. The roads getting onto campus will close at 11:45 a.m. for the parade. The graduate car parade around will begin about noon. 

•    For your safety and the safety of others, please remember that masks are required in all UAF buildings and outdoors when 6’ foot physical distancing can’t be achieved. The short kickoff event and graduate parade is being planned in a COVID-conscious way. We're encouraging students and their families to adhere to all campus-level requirements. Graduates should bring guests only if you feel safe to do so, for example, bringing members of your immediate household. 

 

  • Watch the virtual commencement ceremony at 4 p.m.

    Be sure to share this moment with your family, friends and the academic community. Visit the virtual ceremony site (Link coming soon!) where you can share or download your customized announcement with your friends and family on social media.

The full commencement ceremony will be virtual this year and take place Saturday, May 1 at 4 p.m. Please join us to congratulate graduates as their names are called.

•     4 p.m. Saturday, May 1

•     Find the link on the UAF Facebook page and YouTube

•     Join the Facebook event to receive the latest information

Graduate slides are separated by school and college and then alphabetically this year. 


What to do afterward

If you graduated last August or December, you should have already received your diploma. If you are a spring graduate, you will receive an email notification with instructions for electronically claiming your diploma. Your diploma notification will be sent to the email address you have marked as "preferred" in UAOnline. Verify or update your preferred email address, mailing address and cell phone number on the Personal Information tab in UAOnline.

Please pay your bills, because you won't get your diploma until you do. (The same thing goes for keeping a university key that's been issued to you.) Check your financial status at UAOnline or with the Bursar's Office before you leave campus so you don't get caught by surprise. However, you can still participate in the commencement ceremony even if your university debt has not been settled.

If you're a May graduate and you need your transcript sent somewhere, don't order it until you see your final grades and degree posted on UAOnline, otherwise you could end up sending incorrect or unofficial information.

Looking for jobs or internships? Log into UAF's career platform Handshake with your UA single sign-on (You already have an account, you just need to activate it!) and get access to over 7,000 employers across the US and Alaska and hundreds of job openings. If you need more guidance, Career Services is here to help UAF alumni with everything from resume editing to interview prep.

 


FAQs

UAF will host a mix of both in-person and virtual events on May 1, 2021.

  • The in-person event on Saturday morning will include a graduate car parade with a short kickoff celebration for graduates in the Patty Center parking lot before the parade of cars begins. Space is limited and tickets are required.

  • The virtual ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. and will include more of the traditional elements you usually see at commencement. This year we're incorporating short video clips, along with photos and personal quotes, from students who choose to submit them. This event will be premiered on YouTube and Facebook so your friends and family will be able to join in from anywhere in the world.

Decisions surrounding commencement activities at UAF were made in an effort to be COVID-conscious. With more than 5,000 people (graduates and spectators) expected to participate in an in-person commencement ceremony at the Carlson Center, it would be impossible to physically distance students and spectators in a safe way. In addition, the facility is being used by the Fairbanks North Star Borough as a COVID-19 vaccination site through June 30.

The kickoff celebration and car parade were recommended by UAF students who wanted to hold an outdoor celebration. It’s a chance for graduates to come together as a group and celebrate their accomplishment. Other schools around the country are holding similar events.

Parade route map showing start in front of Patty Center Lot, continuing uphill on Tanana Loop, along Yukon Drive, and out toward Farmer's LoopThis is not a full ceremony, but a condensed version with your student speaker and graduate slides, designed as a kickoff to the graduate parade around campus. Graduates will receive their diploma cover and Nanook Nation flag at this event. It will begin at the Patty Center on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Graduates who choose this option will arrive at the Patty Center and Student Recreation Center parking lots early on Saturday, where a festival stage and large LED projection screen will be set up. You should be able to see the screen from your car, but if for some reason you are unable to do so, the event will also be livestreamed, so you will be able to view the stage via your phone or other device. A slideshow featuring graduates' names and photos will be shown.

Graduates will follow a 2-mile parade route around the Fairbanks campus immediately after the kickoff celebration.

UAF buildings will be closed and campus facilities will be limited. You may want to bring water, snacks and hand sanitizer.

The graduate parade is designed as a motorized event. If you are unable to drive, please reach out to uaf-commencement-team@alaska.edu and we'll work with you on possible options or accommodations for viewing the kickoff celebration at the Patty Center.

RVs, walkers, strollers, bicycles, four-wheelers, rollerblades/skates, skateboards, etc. will not be allowed in the parade due to safety concerns.

The short kickoff event and graduate parade is being planned in a COVID-conscious way. We're encouraging students and their families to adhere to CDC safety protocols and any travel or campus-level requirements. You should bring guests only if you feel safe to do so, for example, bringing members of your immediate household. Only one car per graduate will be allowed to attend. Students will be provided a ticket that will be required to gain entry.

Please keep in mind that UAF buildings will be closed and campus facilities will be limited. You may want to bring water, snacks and hand sanitizer.

Your family will be able cheer you on from the parade route; however, parking is limited. They will also be able to watch the outdoor ceremony from anywhere in the world, as it will be webstreamed. Masks are required on campus when 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be achieved.

Parade route map showing start in front of Patty Center Lot, continuing uphill on Tanana Loop, along Yukon Drive, and out toward Farmer's LoopThe parade, offering one last way to celebrate, will take place immediately following the stage celebration. Graduates will exit the campus by driving up Tanana Loop to West Ridge, then down Yukon Drive and Tanana Loop to Farmers Loop. Graduates who do not wish to participate in the graduate parade can exit the parking lot away from the parade route at the end of the ceremony.

The Commencement Committee wanted to be COVID conscious. We usually have more than 5,000 people participate in commencement at the Carlson Center, so it would be impossible to physically distance students in a safe way. We aren't able to hold commencement at the Carlson Center this year because the facility is being used as a vaccination site through at least midnight on April 30, which doesn't allow time to set up for graduation. In addition, we'd have to hold multiple ceremonies to follow CDC guidelines for large events and gatherings.

Unfortunately, the Patty Center is too small to host larger gatherings. When students are kept 6 feet apart, the gymnasium floor holds about 128 people with the bleachers retracted and 64 students with bleachers expanded.

The kickoff event and car parade is graduate-focused and designed to be more festive than formal. Graduates are welcome to wear their caps and gowns, but they are not required. If you're interested in purchasing a cap and gown or other memorabilia for your photos, please be aware it may take up to four weeks to receive your regalia. The UAF Bookstore may have some limited stock. Please call the store at 907-474-6858, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F, to make arrangements and talk with an associate, or email 1191mgr@follett.com.

 

You'll receive an email soon from the UAF commencement team asking you to RSVP for either the in-person option or the outdoor ceremony in early April. Space is limited, so please be sure to do this on time.

Step 1 — Go to Marching Order RSVP and record your name
Regardless of the option you choose, you'll need to login to Marching Order by midnight on April 5 to RSVP for either the in-person event or the virtual ceremony, and to ensure your name is pronounced correctly!

  • RSVP and let us know you'll be participating
  • Record your name by April 5.

Step 2 — Upload the items to customize your graphics
Once you have done this, you will receive an email from Stage Clip. There, you'll submit your photo, personal quote and a short video. You'll have until April 15 to complete this step. You may wear your cap and gown, but it's not required. Photos and video messages will be reviewed and approved, so be sure your submissions are in keeping with this type of event. Please visit the criteria on the commencement site if you have questions about photos and video.

  • Upload your graduation photo. Cap and gown is encouraged but not required.
  • Include a personal announcement. (Up to 150 words.)
  • Submit a short (6-8 second) TikTok-style video

If you are showing COVID-like symptoms, you should not attend this event. People who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days or have been around someone under quarantine for COVID-19 should not attend the ceremony.

Buildings on campus will be closed and the facilities will be limited.

Graduates who do not participate in the in-person option can choose to participate in the virtual commencement. It will include elements you would expect in a traditional ceremony. Slides will show the graduate's photo, name, degree and major. You'll need to submit your photo, a quote (150 words) and a short video clip. Don't miss this opportunity to personalize your slide!

Your family and friends can participate online.

You should have received an email from StageClip events with the subject line: A few days left - Take part in your celebration ceremony!

We are not able to resend it. If you have a preferred email or are forwarding your Alaska.edu email to another email address you should check your spam filters in that email account.

You should receive another automated email on April 13. 

The deadlines for the virtual graduation ceremony are not flexible. If you have questions about what to submit, you can email uaf-commencement-team@alaska.edu, but we won't be able to make any exceptions to the submission deadlines.

You may purchase a cap and gown for photos and to wear during the parade and outdoor ceremony. However, it's not required. Ordering your cap and gown early will give you enough time to have photos taken on your own you'll then add to your personalized slide. It may take up to four weeks to receive your cap and gown. The UAF Bookstore may have some limited stock. Please call the store at 907-474-6858, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F,  to make arrangements and talk with an associate, or email 1191mgr@follett.com.

 

Spectators for the in-person event will be limited to the graduates and anyone in their vehicle. They won't be allowed into the graduate area on foot due to safety concerns. The facilities will also be limited and campus buildings will be closed.

The small outdoor celebration was planned in a COVID-conscious way. We're encouraging students and their families to be COVID conscious and adhere to safety protocols. You should bring guests only if you feel safe to do so. For example, bringing members of your immediate household.

Spectators may watch the graduate parade from sidewalks and lawns on campus outside of the graduate area. They will be able cheer you on from the parade route (map attached). They will also be able to watch the outdoor ceremony from anywhere in the world, as it will be webstreamed. Again, masks are required on campus when 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be achieved. The parade route is included here.

Parade route map showing start in front of Patty Center Lot, continuing uphill on Tanana Loop, along Yukon Drive, and out toward Farmer's Loop

 

Plans are still being finalized, but there are a few smaller events listed on the commencement website under "Ceremonies."

Most UAF facilities will be closed, however Arctic Java, in Wood Center, will be open 9 a.m-12:30 p.m. Saturday Graduation Day special includes any 16-oz. espresso drink and a slice of banana bread for $3.50. Campus Cache will be open 10 a.m-3:30 p.m. to students and employees. The Bookstore will be open from noon-3 p.m. in case you’d like to stop in for a snack or last-minute graduation gift or card after the parade. 

An application for graduation and nonrefundable fee must be filed with the Office of the Registrar during the semester you plan to graduate.

Caps, gowns and invitations are not included in the graduation fee and must be purchased separately. Contact the bookstore at 907-474-6858.

Final grades aren't calculated until after commencement, but for the ceremony we do identify students who meet preliminary requirements and who would make honors if they earn all A's as graduating with honors. These “potential honors” will be printed in the commencement program and announced when the degree candidate's name is read. Final determination of honors will be made after all grades have been received and your true GPA calculation has been determined. Honors are designated on the diploma and on your UAF transcript.

  • For questions about your account balance or fees:
    Please contact the Office of the Bursar at uaf-bursar@alaska.edu or by phone at 907-474-7384, or stop by the office on the first floor of Signers' Hall.

  • For questions related to honors, graduation status and commencement:
    Please contact Graduation Services at uaf-graduation@alaska.edu or by phone at 907-474-6300, or stop by the office on the first floor of Signers' Hall.

  • Don't see your question here?
    Please send an email to uaf-commencement-team@alaska.edu.

  • Check back soon for more FAQs about the 2021 commencement in-person and virtual events!