Alvernia announces plans for spring 2021 commencement ceremony

Fast Facts

 

Please see below for FAQS. These FAQs will be updated regularly, so please check back often. 

All questions not answered below can be directed to Provost@alvernia.edu.

General Information

When is the Virtual Baccalaureate Mass?

A Baccalaureate Mass for the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be held virtually on Friday, May 14, at 7 pm.

The mass will be streamed on the Alvernia University YouTube channel here.

When and where is the Alvernia Commencement Ceremony?

Commencement is Saturday, May 15, 2021. The Commencement ceremony will be held at the First Energy Stadium (home of the Reading Fightin Phils), located at 1900 Centre Avenue, Reading, PA.

  • The Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony will start at 9:30 am. Doors will open for guests at 8:30 am.  The Commencement procession will begin at 9:15 am, and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 am.
  • The Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony will start at 2:30 pm. Doors will open for guests at 1:30 pm. The Commencement procession will begin at 2:15 pm, and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 2:30 pm.

Sunday, May 16, 2021, has been reserved if a postponement is needed due to severe weather.

Students should refer to the “FAQ for Students” section below regarding arrival details and line-up times.

How do graduates know which ceremony to attend?

  • Eligible for 2020 ceremony
    • August 2019 Graduates (who did not walk in May 2019)
    • December 2019 Graduates
    • May 2020 Graduates
    • Undergraduate and Masters Graduates:  If you had six credits or less needed to graduate at the end of the spring 2020 semester, you were placed on the 2020 eligible list to walk.
    • Ph.D., DPT, and DNP Graduates: Your Program Director confirms ALL requirements are complete and submits for the Registrar’s approval; you are then placed as eligible to walk.
  • Eligible for 2021 ceremony
    • August 2020 Graduates (who did not plan to walk in May 2020)
    • December 2020 Graduates
    • May 2021 Graduates
    • Undergraduate and Masters Graduates:  If you have six credits or less needed to graduate at the end of the spring 2021 semester, you were placed on the 2021 eligible list to walk.
    • Ph.D., DPT, and DNP: Your Program Director confirms that ALL requirements are complete and submits for Registrar’s approval, you are then placed as eligible to walk.

How many tickets will graduates receive for guests?

Each student will receive six (6) guest tickets for the Commencement ceremony.

Any family or friends who do not have a ticket or would like to view the commencement ceremony from afar can do so through the live webcast found on the Alvernia Commencement page the day of the ceremony.

Guest seating will be grouped in “pods” of six (6) to maintain distance between groups who are not known to one another.

Will there be a photographer at the commencement ceremony?

Individual pictures will be taken at Commencement by Grad Images. Students will be able to view the pictures on the website, gradimages.com and purchase directly through the website. If you have any questions, contact them at 800-261-2576.

Will the ceremony be live-streamed?

Each ceremony will be live-streamed so that friends and family who are not in attendance at the stadium can watch and celebrate.

Click here to watch the Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony (9:30 a.m.).

Click here to watch the Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony (2:30 p.m.).

Who is the commencement speaker for the ceremonies?

Health care visionary Thomas E. Beeman, Ph.D., FACHE, FCPP, Rear Adm. (ret), longtime president and CEO of Lancaster General Health (LGH) and chief operating officer of University of Pennsylvania Health System, will serve as the guest speaker at both ceremonies. Beeman was originally slated to address the class of 2020 at the May 2020 commencement ceremony that was canceled due to COVID-19.

Where should graduates and guests park at First Energy Stadium?

There are parking lots along North Front Street directly across from the stadium entrance and the third-base line where graduates and their guests can park.

What are some hotels in the area?

  • Double Tree by Hilton Reading (610.375.8000)
    • 701 Penn St, Reading, PA 19601 
    • From the First Energy Stadium: 9 min (2.4 mi)
  • Crowne Plaza (610.376.3811)
    • 1741 Papermill Rd, Reading, PA 19610
    • From the First Energy Stadium: 7 min (3.7 mi)
  • Marriott Courtyard (610.378.1137)
    • 150 N Park Rd, Reading, PA 19610
    • From the First Energy Stadium: 8 min (3.8mi)
  • Hampton Inn (610.374.8100)
    • 1800 Papermill Rd, Wyomissing, PA 19610 
    • From the First Energy Stadium: 7 min (3.7 mi)

What COVID-19 guidelines will be in place for the ceremony?

All guests and participants are required to follow the following COVID-19 guidelines:

  • Participants and guests should practice physical distancing as much as possible during the ceremony.
  • All participants and guests must wear face masks at all times, including in parking lots, while moving towards the ballpark, and inside the ballpark other than while actively eating or drinking. Face masks must cover nose and mouth.
  • Guest seating will be grouped in “pods” to maintain distance between groups who are not known to one another.
  • All participants and guests are required to wear face masks during the duration of their time at the stadium.
  • All participants and guests should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Those with any symptoms should remain home if feeling ill or after exposure to someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19.
  • All participants and guests should maintain high sanitation levels, including frequent hand washing (for at least 20 seconds), avoiding close contact with those who appear to be sick and covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue.

Anyone preferring not to follow these guidelines is asked to view our ceremonies via the live stream.

Alvernia University reserves the right to amend these COVID-19 guidelines based on updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC recommendations and restrictions.

 

FAQs for Graduates

Must graduates RSVP for the commencement ceremony?

All students, whether attending or not, must RSVP by April 30, 2021.

CLASS OF 2020 RSVP HERE.

CLASS OF 2021 RSVP HERE.

What time should graduates arrive for Commencement?

  • Class of 2020
    • Graduates should arrive between 8:15 am and 8:45 am to check-in and line up in the appropriate section of the commencement procession.
    • Please check back shortly regarding more details of where graduates should go for check-in.
    • The Commencement Procession will begin at 9:15 am, and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 am.
  • Class of 2021
    • Graduates should arrive between 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm to check-in and line up in the appropriate section of the commencement procession.
    • Please check back shortly regarding more details of where graduates should go for check-in.
    • The Commencement Procession will begin at 2:15 am, and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 2:30 am.

Be sure to bring your academic attire (Gowns should be taken out of the bag and pressed ahead of time).

Will there be a commencement rehearsal?

There will be an online virtual rehearsal for graduates during the week of Commencement offered at two different times:

Tuesday, May 11 at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, May 12 at 6 p.m.

Did you miss it? Click here to watch the recording.

How do graduates receive their cap and gown?

For any Class of 2020 graduate who did not order a cap and gown last spring, you must contact the Alvernia University Bookstore by April 23 to arrange pickup or delivery of your cap and gown. The Bookstore is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. In addition to their regular hours, they will be open for additional Saturday hours on April 24 and May 1 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  To contact the Bookstore, please email alvernia@bkstr.com or call (610) 796-8252.

For the Class of 2021, students will need to attend Grad Finale to pick up their cap & gown and take care of all other graduation needs. All cap and gown orders will be filled at the Grad Finale Event. All sizes will be available, so there is no need to preorder.

Dates of Grad Finale

  • Reading Campus (Main) – Wednesday, April 28 from 10:00 am– 6:00 pm in the tent located between the Student Center and Bernardine Hall
  • Philadelphia Center – Monday, May 3 from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm in Room 101
  • Schuylkill Center – Thursday, May 6 from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm in the Student Lounge

Share your Alvernia Story and Win a $100 Alvernia Gift Card!

The Alvernia University Marketing Department will be in attendance at the Alvernia University Grad Finales at the Reading, Philadelphia and Schuylkill campuses to collect video testimonials about their Alvernia experience that will be shown on the big screen before commencement and shared via the university's social media channels. Students who pre-register and participate will be entered to win a $100 Wawa Gift Card! We'll also have some props and a backdrop to get some photos for your personal use! Please fill out this form to enter the drawing and help us tailor our questions to your Alvernia experience.

Do I have to pay for my cap and gown?

There is a mandatory fee for all graduating students completing an associate, undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree. It covers the administrative costs as well as the commencement ceremony (participating or not), cap/gown, Latin Honor cord (if applicable), Honors Program graduate cord (if applicable), diploma and first transcript.

How do graduates receive any cords they have earned?

Latin Honors status is based on cumulative grade point average at the end of MOD 3 for undergraduate students only and with the 5 yr-MSOT at their bachelor level completion. 

50-3.69-cum laude

70-3.89 magna cum laude

90-4.0 summa cum laude

2020 Honors – graduates will receive your cord at the stadium upon arrival at the commencement ceremony.

2021 Honors – graduates will receive your cord at the Grad Finale

Cord/pin/stole/medal from an academic Honor Society or non-academic club and or service

Advisors will be reaching out to you on how you will be receiving those.

How do graduates get their commencement guest tickets?

The tickets will be sent electronically during the first week of May to all students who RSVP by April 30.

When do graduates receive their diplomas?

Graduates do not receive their actual diplomas at the commencement ceremony. Diploma processing typically takes about 8-10 weeks after completion of your degree requirements. Graduates of 2021 will be notified by email when their diploma is available.  All outstanding obligations, financial or other, to the university must be cleared before the diplomas will be made available.  Students who graduated before Spring 2021 and have not yet received their diploma may contact the Registrar’s Office (Novak@Alvernia.edu) to make arrangements.

What should graduates know about how to wear academic attire?

Gowns should be taken out of bags and pressed before the Commencement ceremony. Appropriate dress attire is requested to be worn under gowns, and sensible shoes are recommended.

For Commencement, students should wear their cap, gown, hood and any awarded cords/stoles. Tassels should be placed on the right side of your cap.

Will graduates receive special masks to wear during the ceremony?

Alvernia has secured specially branded masks for the commencement ceremonies! Graduates will receive the masks upon arrival at the ceremony and will be expected to wear them throughout the entire event.

What is the graduation survey?

Each graduate will be asked to complete an online survey. The information will be emailed to you from the Office of Institutional Research. Please complete the survey before the Commencement Ceremony.

What are any additional tips for graduates?

It is recommended that all personal items are left with family members during the Commencement ceremony.

We recommend that students eat and drink before Commencement.

Graduates will be walking and sitting on the baseball field. Appropriate footwear is highly recommended.

With both commencement ceremonies being held outside, we recommend graduates may want to remember to wear sun lotion to prevent potential sunburn.

 

FAQS for Guests

How can I purchase a gift for my graduate?

Buy your graduate a gift to celebrate their special day. Flowers, cookies and custom Alvernia University Alumni mugs are all available. Orders can be placed online here beginning Wednesday, April 28th at 8:00am and can be picked up on the day of commencement, outside of the stadium – look for the Alvernia Alumni tent and volunteers. The website will be open and available through Friday, May 7th.

Who will need a ticket to attend the ceremonies as a guest?

Everyone above the age of 3 will be required to have a ticket for entry into the ceremonies. Children under the age of 3 must be accompanied by an adult and sit on the lap of that adult.

When can guests enter First Energy Stadium?

Doors open for guests one hour prior to the start of each commencement ceremony. For the Class of 2020, guests may enter the stadium starting at 8:30 am.  For the Class of 2021, guests may enter the stadium beginning at 1:30 pm.

All guests must present a ticket at the door of the venue.

Will there be accessible seating at First Energy Stadium?

There is no reserved seating, so if your party needs to be seated in a specific area, please arrive as close to the opening as possible.

Limited stair access seating is available at each arena section entrance.

Accessible seating for wheelchairs is available along the third base line.

Please note, it is recommended that guests needing wheelchairs bring their own. We cannot guarantee wheelchair availability.

Will there be an ASL interpreter at the commencement ceremony?

An ASL interpreter will be available in section 9 of the stadium.

Are balloons and noisemakers permitted at Commencement?

Air horns and balloons are not permitted in the stadium. Any balloons brought will need to be left outside and air horns/noisemakers discarded in the trash. 

We ask that everyone please be respectful of other graduates and their families during the ceremony as everyone would like to hear their graduate’s name be announced.

Will there be food or drinks available at the First Energy Stadium?

Outside food and beverages are not permitted in the First Energy Stadium. There will be concession stands with drinks and snacks open before and during the ceremony.