2021 Commencement

The University of Pennsylvania live commencement webcast will be held on Monday, May 17, 2021 at 10:00am EST; it can be viewed here.

The SP2 Virtual Commencement Ceremony premiered on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 6:30pm EST.

Watch on YouTube

International Students: We realize that YouTube may not be accessible to everyone, including some of your friends and family members. In addition to YouTube, the SP2 Commencement Ceremony will be available through Wistia. You should be able to access the video without a VPN.

Graduation Grab & Go

Graduation Grab & Go was held on Friday, April 30th from 10am – 5pm EST.

This is a chance for graduates to come grab their SP2 Graduation Swag and take a few fun photographs. Please contact Bre Bonner with any questions.


Regalia is not required for SP2’s Virtual Commencement. However, if you are interested in purchasing, you can do so through Grad Express. Please contact Bre Bonner with any questions.

Dear SP2 2021 Graduates,

The Office of Student Affairs is excited to share details with you about our 2021 SP2 Commencement, which will be Saturday, May 15th at 6:30PM EST. We are planning a virtual ceremony that will highlight your many accomplishments during your time at SP2.

We are excited for you to participate in our virtual ceremony. We will recognize all SP2 graduates, which means all graduates’ names will be announced during the commencement ceremony.

We encourage you to submit video content that will be included during the commencement ceremony. This is your time to shine and to share your story. Save the Date: Friday, April 30th is our Graduation Grab & Go!

Below please find more detailed information related to graduation.

Submit Personal Videos
  • Students can order regalia now through Grad Express (section on Campus Express). You have until April 23rd to purchase if you want to receive it in time.
Graduation Grab & Go
  • Friday, April 30th, Time: TBA
  • Take fun photos
  • Grab your SP2 Graduation Swag
  • Student living outside of Philadelphia (based on your learning from address) your graduation swag will be mailed to you

Please let us know if you have questions. We will continue to keep you updated as we finalize our virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15th. We look forward to celebrating with you soon!

Take care,

Jennifer J. Clinkscales, DSW, LCSW (she/her)
Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Dear SP2 students,

I’m writing to follow up on the email you received yesterday about plans for commencement, including the decision that graduate school commencements will again be virtual. Although we would much prefer to be able to share commencement with you in person, we also know that it is not possible to do so and ensure the safety and well-being of our community.

We are working hard to plan a virtual celebration to share in the joy of all you have accomplished during this incredible challenging time. Detailed information about SP2 commencement will be sent soon.


Jennifer J. Clinkscales, DSW, LCSW (she/her)
Associate Dean of Student Affairs

With the end of the academic year approaching, thoughts naturally begin to turn toward Commencement, one of Penn’s grandest traditions and a worthy recognition of the academic accomplishments of our students.

Since the onset of the pandemic, travel has been curtailed and large gatherings have been prohibited in jurisdictions across the country, including here in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These conditions forced a postponement of last year’s in-person ceremony and has compelled us to contend with much uncertainty as we planned for the possibility of a ceremony this May.

We are pleased to report that, based upon the new guidelines very recently issued by the Philadelphia Health Department, we have now confirmed that we will be able to hold one limited in-person undergraduate Commencement ceremony at Franklin Field on the morning of May 17th. This plan is contingent upon there being no major interim change for the worse in the course of the pandemic.  Due to public health limitations, we regret that we will not be able to welcome the entire Penn community to this year’s celebration. For this year’s ceremony, Class of 2021 seniors who have been part of our asymptomatic testing protocol this semester, and who have not had housing or access to campus revoked because of a Campus Compact violation, will be invited to participate. No travel from outside of the Philadelphia region to attend will be permitted. Family or friends will not be able to be accommodated at Franklin Field but they will be able to watch a livestream and the ceremony recording will be posted to our website. Unfortunately, we are not able to hold any other in-person ceremonies for the Class of 2021, and we cannot include graduate or professional students at the in-person event. All Graduate ceremonies will be presented virtually, and graduate and professional students will hear directly from their schools about those plans.

The graduating seniors who plan to participate in Commencement will be required to test negative for COVID-19 prior to the ceremony. Masks will be required, as will social distancing. Specific details regarding health checks and registration will be sent directly to graduating seniors.

We are also pleased at this time to be able to announce that our Commencement speaker will be Penn alumna Laurene Powell Jobs. Ms. Jobs is founder and president of Emerson Collective, which is dedicated to the pursuit of a more equal and just world. Emerson Collective deploys a range of tools – from impact investing to philanthropy to advocacy – to lift up entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators, and creators working to build such a world and advance progress in critical areas, including education, immigration, climate, and cancer research and treatment. Through her leadership, philanthropy and advocacy, Ms. Jobs is an inspiring example of the positive impact that Penn alumni are making in addressing complex issues that face our nation and world, and her insight will ensure our graduates a memorable and meaningful Commencement experience.

In addition, we have an extraordinary group of other Honorary Degree recipients whose accomplishments we will celebrate by bestowing the University’s highest recognition: Elizabeth Alexander (GR’92), poet and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Frances H. Arnold, 2018 Nobel Prize winner and the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology; David L. Cohen (L’81), Senior Advisor of Comcast Corporation and Chair of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania; Joy Harjo, poet and musician of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation and the 23rd United States Poet Laureate; David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee and Former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and member of Parliament in the United Kingdom; John Williams, composer and musical director for film and concert stage, and former Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra; and Janet L. Yellen, economist and the 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury.

Please know that we will continue to look for an opportunity to appropriately recognize our 2020 graduates, along with 2021 graduates who will not be able to attend this year’s event, as soon as pandemic restrictions permit. We want to ensure that all of these students have the opportunity for their academic accomplishments to be publicly recognized, and we are committed to finding a way to make that happen.

We are pleased to be able to recognize as many of our graduates as is safely possible in person at Franklin Field on May 17th. To all our graduates, we offer our heartfelt congratulations on a job well done.

We will keep the campus community posted if any changes to our current plans become necessary. Specific details for those able to attend will be sent soon.

SP2 News

Chad Lassiter

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