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Live and In-Person: Graduates Prepare for Big Day at Fenway Park

woman with back to camera, mortarboard says "You're gong to be amazing"
We think so. File photo/Derek Palmer

Emerson’s Class of 2021 is gearing up to make the long-awaited transition from student to alumna/us on Sunday, a day when members of the Class of 2020 will finally have the chance to celebrate together in person one year after the pandemic made a live ceremony impossible.

The 140th and 141st Emerson Commencement exercises will be held Sunday, May 2, at historic Fenway Park. The ceremony for the Class of 2021 will be held from approximately 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. The Class of 2020 will go from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

With the virus still circulating and many people not yet fully vaccinated, the ceremonies will look a little different than in previous years. Rather than processing in behind a drum ensemble, graduates will sit with their families in pods. In lieu of crossing a stage to receive a handshake, graduates’ names and photos will be flashed on the ballpark’s Jumbotron as their name is read.

But some things will seem very familiar.

President Lee Pelton will give the commencement address in one of his last official acts before departing to become president and CEO of The Boston Foundation in June. Also on the program: remarks by Provost Michaele Whelan, student speakers, and Dean’s and President’s awards.

The Fenway Park ceremonies will also be streamed live for a wider audience at You can follow the day’s events on Twitter at #EmersonGraduates, #Emerson2021, and #Emerson2020.

Next Sunday, May 9, at 10:00 am, graduates, their families, and the community will be able to watch a Class of 2021 Online Commencement Ceremony, also at The one-hour event will feature awards, speeches from students, a guest speaker, and President Pelton, and will be available for later viewing.

At the same time, the Reading of the Graduates’ Names will be released as a separate searchable video, clocking in at just under two hours long.

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