Graduation 2021

Graduate in Person. Celebrate Virtually.

As the PAFA community continues to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on events and gatherings, we plan to host a hybrid Commencement experience to honor the Class of 2021 on Friday, May 14, 2021. PAFA recognizes that graduating is a significant moment that celebrates the end of a journey of learning, discovery and building lifelong friendships and connections. And we understand that restricting this momentous occasion - without friends and family in-person - will be a disappointment, but safety must be our top priority.

Commencement Details

Commencement! Friday May 14, 2021

In accordance with public health protocols, PAFA is coordinating two small, in-person student-only ceremonies, one for the BFA/Certificate graduates and one for the MFA/Post-Bacc graduates. These events will be in-person for graduating students only. Participation will be virtual for families and friends. Some parts may be pre-recorded, while others will be live. And everything will be viewable remotely -- for all guests, as well as for those graduates who are unable to attend in-person.

Virtual streaming of the ceremonies above!

  • MFA/Post-Bacc Ceremony:  11:00am (EST)
  • BFA/Certificate/PAFA-Penn Ceremony: 2:00pm (EST)

FAQs about Commencement 2021

What safety protocols are guiding the planning for Commencement 2021?

Commencement 2021 is being planned and held in a manner that is healthy and safe, including being fully compliant with PAFA’s COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy, and the regulations established by the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In accordance with PAFA’s COVID-19 protocols, facial coverings will be required, seats will be arranged to ensure graduating students are physically distanced during the ceremony, and students will be recognized from their seats instead of crossing the stage. Seniors studying remotely who are unable to attend will be acknowledged as well.

How do I view the virtual Commencement Ceremony?

All events will be streamed to a link posted on this page. Detailed communications will be sent to students closer to May 14. Stay tuned here for more information!

Should family & friends book travel and accommodations for Commencement 2021?

No. Families and friends should not book travel and accommodations because they will attend virtually rather than in person.

Will family/guests who have been vaccinated be allowed to attend the on-campus event on May 14?

No. For the health and safety of the campus population, the majority of whom will not have received the vaccine by May 14, PAFA cannot make exceptions for vaccinated individuals.

If visitors are allowed on campus to help students move out of studios or Stiles Hall, why are they not allowed to attend the on-campus ceremony?

Visitors will be permitted to assist with move-out due to the low-density, spread-out, time-restricted nature of that activity, which is in keeping with the safety protocols adopted by PAFA during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the health and well-being of our campus, we must limit the number of people gathered together in attendance at the May 14 event, and are thus prioritizing graduating students on campus. We invite family members and guests to watch via the livestream.

How will students who are unable to attend receive their diplomas?

For any students unable to attend, the Registrar’s Office will either mail diplomas directly to students after Commencement to the address provided when you completed your Steps to Graduation Form, or make arrangements to deliver diplomas to students in their studios the week following Commencement. Students who have not completed their graduation requirements (including last remaining credits, financial account balances, outstanding library materials, etc.) will receive their diplomas upon completion of these.