Update 3/25: NKU will move previously announced outdoor commencement ceremonies inside BB&T Arena.
By moving to a larger venue, NKU officials said they will now be able to accommodate limited guest tickets for all ceremonies:
- Graduates for ceremonies on May 8-9 will each be able to request two guest tickets for their ceremony.
- Due to its smaller size, graduates in the Chase College of Law ceremony on May 7 can each request up to four guest tickets.
All guests will be required to have a ticket to enter BB&T Arena and will be expected to follow COVID-19 protocols, including masking and social distancing.
"NKU is committed to providing a meaningful celebration for our graduates and their families while balancing the appropriate health protocols to provide a safe event for our graduates and guests. Knowing how important this is to our students and their families, I commend our staff for its ongoing efforts to make this possible," wrote President Ashish Vaidya in the announcement.
All ceremonies will also be streamed live online.
Initial report 3/8:
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University will hold in-person commencement ceremonies for May 2021 graduates and a separate ceremony honoring 2020 graduates, the university's president announced Monday.
Each ceremony will be held on the field at the NKU Soccer Complex, rain or shine, and the ceremonies will be streamed live online.
President Ashish Vaidya said the decision was made after consulting with the governor's office and "evaluating options to deliver a safe and meaningful commencement celebration."
"We were really hoping to find a way to make sure we celebrate commencement this year with an in-person -- even though it would be following all of the health and safety protocols -- find some way to do this in a safe and responsible way," he told WCPO.
He noted that the five ceremonies must follow all state guidelines and are subject to change. The university has received permission to have about 1,000 students on the soccer field and a limited number of faculty and staff. Masks will also likely be required at the ceremony.
"They'll still be able to walk the stage; unfortunately, I probably won't be able to shake their hands," he said.
Currently restrictions will not allow families and friends in the stands, but loved ones will be invited to watch the ceremonies virtually.
"Nearly 50% of our students are first in their families to go to college, so commencement is not just a culmination of their academic achievement -- which of course, it is -- but it's also a celebration of their determination, their grit, their resiliency that they've gone through for the number of years to have come there," Vaidya said.
Find the schedule below:
- Commencement for Chase College of Law: Friday, May 7, 5 p.m.
- Commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education: Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m.
- Commencement for the Haile/US Bank College of Business and College of Informatics: Saturday, May 8, 3 p.m.
- Commencement for the College of Health and Human Services: Sunday, May 9, 10 a.m.
- Commencement for May, August and December 2020 graduates: Sunday, May 9, 3 p.m.
On Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map, Campbell County is currently designated "orange" for "accelerated" community spread. Across Kentucky, new COVID-19 cases and test positivity have fallen for eight consecutive weeks. More than 830,000 Kentuckians have been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 31,600 people in Northern Kentucky.