We are now just two weeks away from Norwich University’s May 1st in-person 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies. Please know we are doing all that we can to ensure a safe, celebratory recognition of our students and their achievements. Our priority is to provide the best possible experience for our seniors, in accordance with the capacity and crowd limits that are now in place under the Governor’s Vermont Forward Plan.
We recognize that decisions we make regarding our community’s well-being may be upsetting to our students’ parents, families, and other guests. We regret any inconveniences and empathize with your disappointment as these ceremonies will be unlike past traditional events. Yet, after a year with limited gatherings and holding all-campus events and ceremonies virtually, we are excited that we are able to bring our graduating seniors together for in-person Commencement ceremonies, incorporating as many traditions as we can, within current health and safety protocols and Vermont guidelines.
Provost Affenito and her team have been working extremely hard to ensure our graduates and everyone commissioning will be celebrated in the manner they deserve. Following are specific details respective to our 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies:
Date, Time and Location of Ceremonies of Commencement
Multiple 2021 Commencement ceremonies will be conducted at 9:00 a.m. and 12 noon. Graduates who have confirmed their intent to join us in person will receive a personalized letter with the location and time of their ceremony. Details of the letter should align as described below:
9:00 a.m. – Shapiro Fieldhouse – Graduates of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College of Liberal Arts, and Graduates of the School of Architecture + Art and School of Business in the College of Professional Schools
9:00 a.m. – Kreitzberg Arena – All graduates from the College of Science and Mathematics
12:00 noon – Shapiro Fieldhouse – Graduates of the School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing, the David E. Crawford School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing in the College of Professional Schools
12:00 noon – Kreitzberg Arena – Graduates in Chinese, Communications, Education, English, History, International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Spanish, and Studies in War and Peace from the College of Liberal Arts
The 2021 Joint Commissioning Ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m. outdoors at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in Shapiro Fieldhouse. Details relating to the individual branch Commissioning ceremonies will be distributed in a separate communication.
Commencement Ticketing and Live Streaming Viewing
An email will be sent to all graduating students with ticketing information for the Commencement Ceremony. Graduates may secure only two guest tickets in total. Graduates are strongly encouraged to secure their tickets promptly. Tickets are non-transferable and graduates have up until 24 hours prior to the event to change the name of their guest(s) as necessary.
Vaccinated guests who wish to view ceremonies in Kreitzberg Arena and the Shapiro Fieldhouse must have a valid ticket, valid photo ID, and proof of full vaccination. Unvaccinated guests must have a ticket, valid photo ID, and proof of a negative COVID test. These guests will be directed to one of our multiple alternate viewing locations to watch the ceremonies via livestream.
The ticketing reservation process enables Norwich University to comply with State of Vermont requirements for contact tracing. Tickets must be printed or available on a smart phone to be scanned for entry into Shapiro Fieldhouse, Kreitzberg Arena, and the areas designated for livestream viewing. All guests must agree to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks and adherence to physical distancing requirements throughout their time on campus at Norwich. Please remember that we must ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community of employees and their family members even as students depart after commencement.
Student and Guest Arrival Logistics, Traffic Plan and Parking
The Norwich University campus will be open for student, faculty, staff, and guest arrival on Saturday, May 1st beginning at 7:00 a.m. Ticketed guests are encouraged to arrive with ample time to enable access and security screening upon arrival and at each event venue prior to the start of the ceremony.
Two access gates will be established to enable access to campus via I.D. White and University Drive. Both entry points will be staffed by Norwich University Public Safety Officers and Green Mountain Security Services personnel.
Gate #1 - ID White Drive - Only Norwich University VIP guests, faculty, and staff will be permitted to access campus through this entry gate. VIP guests will be able to park on Burt Drive adjacent to Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium.
Gate #2 – University Drive – Ticketed Commencement and Joint Commissioning guests, parents, and family members assisting students in departing campus will access campus via University Drive. Please note this important information:
- A. Officers will request each individual to present ALL documents for those planning entry to Kreitzberg Arena or Shapiro Fieldhouse.
- B. Ticketed guests who are not fully vaccinated will be directed to established locations on campus to view the Commencement ceremonies virtually, or to pick up their student at their respective barracks or residential hall. Guests who fail to comply with these directions will be asked to leave campus.
- C. All guests will be required to sign in according to location, and provide address and cell phone # for contact tracing purposes. This is a requirement of the State of Vermont.
The campus will be well-marked for parking throughout the weekend, and parking attendants will be present to direct traffic. Please comply with all posted signs, speed limits, and with the direction of parking staff to ensure your safety and that of others.
Golf Carts – a limited number of golf carts will be available to transport fully vaccinated guests who require assistance from the parking lots to Shapiro Fieldhouse or Kreitzberg Arena for Commencement.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
The health and safety of our entire community is our highest priority, and we must abide by state guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, which include greatly limiting gathering sizes and visitors on campus. Norwich parents, family members, and guests who plan to attend the indoor Commencement ceremonies in person must be prepared to demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated upon their arrival to campus.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. Guests in a two-dose vaccination series must have completed their second dose no later than April 16th, which is the same deadline for the single-dose vaccine.
Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement
Unvaccinated ticketed guests must have a COVID-19 test within 3 days before arriving in Vermont. The test you get must be for a current infection (like a PCR test), but cannot be an antigen test (also known as a rapid test). Please bring proof of your negative test result with you.
If the test is positive, please do not come to Vermont. The State of Vermont has published very clear guidelines for travelers arriving from out of state. Norwich University must adhere to these guidelines; they are state law. Quarantining does not exempt you from the testing requirement. You may choose to quarantine, but are still required to get a negative test before coming to Vermont.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months do not need to test unless they develop new symptoms. To gain admission to the event, these guests will need to present a doctor’s note exempting you from a test.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
All Norwich University students, faculty, staff, and all guests will be required to strictly adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols at all times, including maintaining physical distancing requirements, wearing masks or facial coverings, and proper hand hygiene. Large gatherings will be restricted; guests and visitors to campus will be permitted only in Shapiro Fieldhouse and Kreitzberg Arena to attend the Commencement ceremonies. No guest or visitor entry will be permitted in academic buildings, residential halls and barracks, the Wise Campus Center and bookstore, Kreitzberg Library, the Sullivan Museum and History Center, White Chapel, etc., at any time.
Upper Parade Ground (UP)
The Goodyear Gate will remain open throughout the day on Saturday, May 1st for students to pack vehicles to leave campus. The circular drive on the UP will remain open for one-way traffic flow. Vehicles parked to enable loading are encouraged to keep the traffic lane open for smooth flow and students are encouraged to expedite their move-out process. The Upper Parade Ground itself will be roped off with traffic stations to deter any gatherings. To comply with State of Vermont guidelines regarding large outdoor gatherings, no celebrations will be permitted on the UP. Student Affairs staff will be present on the UP to prevent gatherings and to assist students in checking out of their barracks.
Residential Halls and Campus Closure
All graduates still residing in the dorms are permitted to stay on campus through noon Sunday, May 2nd to provide time for departure, as necessary. Graduates will be required to have all of their belongings out of their rooms no later than noon Sunday, May 2 and are strongly encouraged to depart campus as expeditiously as possible. Parents and family members will not be permitted to enter the residence halls to assist their graduated students and must remain in their vehicles. On-campus storage will not be available.