Duluth colleges plan in-person commencement

The University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior College and College of St. Scholastica held virtual celebrations last year.

Graduates take selfies at at commencement
Shinsha Jonnalagadda, right, and her husband, Sravan Jonnalagadda, take a photo during the University of Minnesota Duluth's commencement in May 2018. UMD will return to in-person ceremonies this year after two years of virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Colleges are transitioning back to in-person graduation ceremonies after hosting modified celebrations for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior College and College of St. Scholastica had virtual commencement, with formats that included online presentations and recorded messages.

UMD also invites last year’s grads

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s graduation ceremonies will be May 7 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Amsoil Arena at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Masks are not required.

UMD leadership is also inviting 2020 and 2021 graduates to participate.

“Graduation is an important milestone, but two UMD graduating classes weren't able to walk across the stage because of the pandemic,” Lynne Willians, spokesperson for UMD, told the News Tribune last week. “When we learned that this year's commencement ceremony could be held in person, we wanted to make sure to invite graduates from 2020 and 2021 to join the class of 2022.”


Sixty former graduates were planning to attend as of last week, Williams said.

LSC plans ‘fully in-person commencement’

Lake Superior College graduate Breauna Peterson, right, holds a sample diploma with Anna Sackette-Urness, dean of Allied Health and Nursing, while the two are photographed by Lifetouch Photography on May 3, 2021.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

Lake Superior College’s commencement, scheduled for 2 p.m. May 16 at Amsoil Arena, will be “100% in person,” spokesperson Daniel Fanning told the News Tribune.

The nurses pinning ceremony is set for 11 a.m. May 16 at Symphony Hall, also at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

“Lake Superior College is thrilled to return to a fully in-person commencement ceremony,” President Patricia Rogers said in a statement. “Our students, and especially this year’s graduating class, have shown such resiliency throughout the pandemic-related challenges these past two years. They deserve a full, in-person commencement to celebrate their accomplishments and we are excited to join family and friends in honoring the 2022 LSC graduates."

CSS to feature pandemic-minded format

College of St. Scholastica’s graduates file into Amsoil Arena for the college’s spring commencement Sunday afternoon. Steve Kuchera /
College of St. Scholastica graduates file into Amsoil Arena for spring commencement in 2019. The college will host modified in-person ceremonies this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune

College of St. Scholastica graduates will wear their full regalia and walk across a stage to receive a diploma cover from the college president at a graduation procession May 14. All celebrations will be on-campus alongside brunch at 10 a.m. in the Greenview Dining Room and Mass at 9 a.m. at Mitchell Auditorium.

Each graduate has a set time slot to receive their diploma cover. There will be no speakers, songs or set audience unless students and families decide to stay and congratulate graduates.

Scholastica will also host a virtual, prerecorded commencement where each graduate is recognized individually. The recording will be available on the same day as the in-person ceremony.

“The college has found that the graduation procession is a much more enjoyable and engaged commencement process than the traditional ceremony," CSS President Barbara McDonald said in a statement. "We are committed to offering the ceremony in this format this year as we continue to move through the pandemic."


Other local colleges

t051819 --- Clint Austin --- 051919.N.DNT.UWSGRAD.C04 --- Decorated mortarboards dominate the the head wear of University of Wisconsin-Superior graduates. --- Clint Austin /
Decorated mortarboards dominate the the head wear of University of Wisconsin-Superior graduates in 2019.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

The University of Wisconsin-Superior will return to a traditional in-person graduation ceremony at 2 p.m. May 14 at Siinto S. Wessman Arena. “This is a special day for our students, and we are happy to return to a format that allows the experience to be shared with family, classmates and the entire UW-Superior community,” Jen Bird, assistant dean of students, said in a statement.

A live video feed will be available the day of the ceremony at .

Northwood Technical College has scheduled commencement for May 13 at its Superior, Ashland, New Richmond and Rice Lake campuses. Details will be communicated to graduates in April, according to its website . A limited number of guests will be allowed and there will be an opportunity for photos. The ceremony time, format and safety protocols may vary by campus.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet has set commencement for 6:30 p.m. May 12. Other details aren't yet available. Last year, the college hosted a modified in-person pinning ceremony for associate degree nursing program graduates, a graduate parade and a virtual commencement.

Abigael Smith is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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