On Saturday, May 22, 2021 we will celebrate Commencement at the LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan (just north of Grand Rapids). We will celebrate the Class of 2020 at 11 a.m. EST and the Class of 2021 at 3:30 p.m. EST. You will be able to invite two guests to join you for this momentous occasion.
There are a number of details you’ll need to attend to prior to your Commencement ceremony to make sure you are all set to graduate. You can find a list of these items under the graduates section of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 pages, including information on when you can order your tickets and cap and gown and how to update your contact information. You’ll also have access to digital downloads and be able to order apparel to help you celebrate this momentous occasion. For those who are not able to attend the in-person celebration, you’ll be able to submit a photo for inclusion in the ceremony.
Guests & Families
Whether you are traveling to Grand Rapids for the event or joining the celebration virtually from home, you can find the information you’ll need in the 2020 and 2021 Guests & Families sections. Each graduate will be able to invite two guests to their in-person ceremony.
The 2020 and 2021 Commencement ceremonies are taking place off-site at Lake Michigan Credit Union Ballpark, which is located just north of Grand Rapids (about 10 miles from Calvin University’s main campus). More information on the venue, including a seating map for the event, will be available on the Venue page later in April.
Will there be an in-person Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021? Yes. Calvin will host two separate in-person commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Both events will take place at the same location (LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan – located just north of Grand Rapids). The Class of 2020’s ceremony will be at 11 a.m. EST, the Class of 2021’s at 3:30 p.m. EST.
What factored into the decision to move Commencement off-campus? As we developed commencement plans, our priority has been to find a venue that could accommodate hundreds of graduates and at least some of their guests given current and expected health and safety guidelines. We were not able to identify an indoor facility or an optimal outdoor space on campus to hold these events while adhering to health and safety protocols. We did, however, find an ideal option close by that would provide graduates and their families with a memorable Commencement experience. Having a generous amount of parking near the venue also factored into the decision.
Why were the dates changed for the Commencement ceremonies? In short, to work around the schedule of the venue we selected.
Did you explore other venues that would have allowed the initial dates to stay the same? Yes, we did explore other venues. We could have kept the same dates but would have needed to compromise on the experience of our graduates and guests to do so. We found LMCU Ballpark to be an ideal option for the Commencement ceremonies. While we looked at a number of other venues, we found that LMCU Ballpark would provide the best viewing options for both in-person and remote guests. At the park, the ceremonies will be projected on the jumbo screen, which will provide a clear picture even in direct sunlight. LMCU Ballpark will also provide a high-quality video feed for families and friends watching online.
What if I cannot join the ceremony in May? For those graduates and/or their guests who are not able to attend a Commencement ceremony in May, we will be streaming the events live on the Calvin Commencement website, and the ceremony will also be archived there after the event.
How many guests can each graduate invite? Each graduate will be able to secure two “guest tickets” for the ceremony.
How do I order tickets? More information on how to order tickets will be sent to 2020 and 2021 graduates in an email on Wednesday, April 28. Each graduate will be able to secure two guest tickets.
How do I order my cap and gown? Where do I pick them up? A link with ordering details is included in an email sent to graduates on Wednesday, April 14.
Graduates can pick up their caps and gowns on campus in Hoogenboom 280.
Class of 2021 dates/times Tuesday, May 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Class of 2020 dates/times Thursday, May 13, 3 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, 9 a.m. - 12 noon
Note: Students who are not able to pick up their cap and gowns during one of these listed times will have an opportunity to pick one up at the ballpark prior to their ceremony. Exact time(s) for pickup on that day are TBD.
How and when do I let Calvin know if I’m planning to attend in-person or virtually? We are trying to gauge attendance #’s, so it would be helpful if graduates could reply by Friday, April 16 to the brief survey we emailed you. If you missed this email, it was sent on March 31 to 2020 grads and on April 2 to 2021 grads.
Note: If your plans have changed since you filled out that survey, that’s fine. Ultimately, you will need to either order your cap/gown (for those attending in person) or submit a photo by May 7 (for those attending virtually) to confirm your plans.
If not attending, how do I ensure my photo appears during the ceremony? If you are unable or choose not to attend the Commencement ceremony in-person, please submit your photo to email@example.com by May 7. This photo will appear when your name is read. Your photo should be a more formal headshot and be 300 dpi or approximately 1MB or greater in size. Please include your name and class year with your submission.
How can I share pronunciation of my name with name readers? You will have the opportunity to connect with your assigned name-readers closer to the ceremony date. More information will be shared via email and on the Commencement site by mid-May.
I am graduating this May, why am I not receiving email communications about graduation? Class of 2021: Communication was sent to seniors who have applied to graduate. Please apply for your degree If you think that you have already done this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 2020 and January 2021 graduates: Communication is being sent to the non-Calvin email you provided on the grad survey in May 2020. If you are not receiving Commencement messages, email email@example.com to verify your preferred email address.
What health and safety protocols are being taken for the event? While these may change slightly based on local and state health protocols, at this time masks will be required for all attendees (graduates included). In addition, seating for graduates and guests will follow social distancing guidelines, and the ballpark staff may be conducting temperature checks on arrival.
What will seating look like? Just like in Calvin’s Van Noord Arena (where Commencement is typically held), seating will be general admission and the majority of LMCU Ballpark’s seating is bleacher-style. We will post a seating map on this site in mid-April. Accessible seating will also be available for those who require it. Grads can request accessible seating for their guests when they order their tickets in late April.
Will there be accessible seating available? We will be working with the ballpark staff to determine where this seating will be available and will add information on accessibility to the Commencement page by late April.
Will food or beverages be available for sale at the event? No.
Can I bring my own food or beverages into the ballpark? Bringing food or beverage inside the ballpark is strongly discouraged.
Will there be parking nearby? Parking is one of the many reasons we chose LMCU Ballpark. There is plenty of parking adjacent to the venue. A map with parking information will be added to the Commencement site by late April.
If I live outside of west Michigan, what are my lodging options? Guests can check availability at Calvin’s Prince Conference Center (located on campus). There are many options near Calvin University and also several options located within a few miles of the ballpark. Please note that Calvin is approximately 10 miles southeast (or 15-20 minutes without traffic) of LMCU Ballpark.
Will seniors who are currently living on campus have an option of staying in their residence through May 22? Yes, they will have the option of staying (at no additional charge for the housing). Seniors staying through Commencement will have until 10 a.m. on Monday, May 24 to check-out of their room or apartment.
When will smaller department events be scheduled for the Class of 2021 (such as pinning, hooding, commissioning-type ceremonies). We will share dates and formats for these ceremonies here as they are finalized. Students who will be invited to participate in these events will be notified via email as well. Here’s the list we have to date:
Education Program Commissioning Date/time: Saturday, May 15, 3 p.m. Location: Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium
Please note that in-person attendance for these smaller department events is limited to faculty, staff, and students. If a livestream option is available, we will post that link on this site a few days prior to the event.
Are any other traditional Commencement Week events happening? No other events outside of the main Commencement ceremonies and perhaps the smaller department events listed above will be happening on campus during Commencement Week.