April 30, 2021
Dear LMU Community,
As I shared in my video message earlier today, we have exciting news, and we believe it was worth the wait: LMU will host the 109th Commencement Exercises at SoFi Stadium on July 31, 2021. We are also thrilled to invite the Class of 2020 to join the Class of 2021 for this joyous occasion and to honor these momentous milestones. Our revised approach is an outcome of venue availability, continuing vaccination progress, sustained low numbers of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County, the results of our recent survey of graduates and families, and the university’s desire to commemorate graduation in a manner befitting the accomplishments of our students.
We thank the Class of 2021 for participating in last month’s survey of commencement preferences, which revealed support for a new path forward. More than 2600 of you responded, and 75 percent indicated a preference for an in-person commencement during summer rather than a virtual celebration, with more than 98 percent indicating they would plan to attend.
We will follow up with additional details, including recommendations for local accommodations, in the coming weeks. Final arrangements for in-person events will align with protocols and guidance from public health authorities. Please visit our commencement websites (undergraduates and graduates and LMU Loyola Law School) for the latest updates. Below is a preview of our plan:
Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be officially conferred on May 8 and 9, 2021, to ensure our Class of 2021 continues to pursue their educational, personal, and professional ambitions. We will confer LMU Loyola Law School degrees on May 16, 2021, after LLS students complete their exams. These conferrals concord with our previously scheduled commencement dates. The May celebrations will feature pre-recorded video messages from university leaders, shout-out walls, and personalized slides for each graduate. In addition, the colleges and schools will hold virtual gatherings with their students and dean to celebrate this important degree conferral milestone.
- We are inviting graduates-to-be to the LMU Westchester campus this spring and summer for photo opportunities and hope you are able to take advantage of these opportunities.
- We are offering a slate of virtual celebratory events such as cultural and affinity gatherings, award ceremonies, and social and other events.
- During summer we will remain engaged—we think of this spring and summer as a celebration that culminates at our in-person festivities at SoFi Stadium on July 31.
July 31, 2021
- We are optimistic that event protocols will be eased further, allowing graduates to invite more family members and friends than would have been possible earlier.
- We anticipate that our programming will include Commencement Mass, commencement speakers, processions, receptions, and the cherished traditions that comprise LMU’s commencement exercises. We will also honor the Feast of St. Ignatius.
- For those unable to join us, we will provide a livestream of the event and an opportunity for graduates to participate virtually.
The LMU Way
As part of our planning, we reviewed thoughtful messages and creative ideas from students and parents who shared alternative approaches to our traditional commencement. We are awestruck by your care, and we are grateful for your investment and interest. We considered myriad options before finalizing our plans. As you are aware, universities located outside of L.A. County are subject to different, and generally more flexible, public health protocols. Within L.A. County, other institutions are offering in-person commencements as early as this May. However, because of current travel restrictions, their plans will likely exclude graduates and guests from outside of California—and their numbers of guests will be lower than what we hope we can accommodate.
Our approach offers full programming and is inclusive of attendees from other states and nations. Our timeline also provides an opportunity for our graduates, attendees, and events operations staff to be fully vaccinated. This is the LMU way—honoring our students’ achievements with the glory and splendor they deserve by providing for a more personalized, flexible, safer, and more triumphant experience by the end of July.
Students, your accomplishments, your sacrifices, and your resilience deserve special recognition. Our new plans will send you off into a post-pandemic world with a Lion’s Roar. We remain grateful for your patience and understanding as we adapt to circumstances, as we learn from you, and as we discover ways to be #LMUTogether.
With appreciation and boundless excitement for each of you,
Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.