UNT President Neal Smatresk opens a commencement ceremony in a windy, cold Apogee Stadium on Nov. 22. The University of North Texas will have four graduation ceremonies at the stadium on Friday and Saturday.

After holding last year’s fall semester commencement ceremonies in a socially distanced setting at Apogee Stadium, the University of North Texas is returning to its football stadium Friday and Saturday to honor its spring 2021 graduates.

Similar to last November’s ceremonies, this batch of graduates — over 5,500, according to a UNT news release — will once again remain seated inside Apogee during the event. University administration and system leadership will give remarks and conduct a ceremonial conferral of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees instead of the traditional crossing of the stage.

One difference from the fall to the spring is that this time around, all students will be seated on the field, as opposed to the fall model that had undergraduate students in the stands with their family. Masks are still required and seating will be pre-assigned to maintain distancing.

Heather Noel, a spokesperson for UNT, said she couldn’t answer questions about the ceremony and later emailed a statement saying that plans were made months ago to honor the commencement experience while staying safe during the pandemic.

In total, four in-person ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 30 and May 1. The university will also hold virtual ceremonies for each college across those two days, in which college deans will offer remarks and each graduate’s name will be read aloud and displayed along with their degree and any Latin honors.


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