Frequently Asked Questions

Members of the Goshen College Class of 2021 will be recognized with a hybrid in-person and virtual ceremony during the college’s 123rd commencement weekend, April 23-25. The in-person commencement ceremony will involve only graduates and faculty.

All participants will be masked and seated following physical distancing guidelines, and graduates will walk across the stage in person to receive their diplomas in the Ruth Gunden Gymnasium. Families and friends will be able to follow along virtually, and there will be additional virtual engagement opportunities throughout the weekend. 

Frequently asked questions regarding the 2021 commencement:

Q: Why aren’t you holding a fully in-person event on campus on April 25?
A: Due to COVID-19 and local, state and federal recommendations for physical distancing, we are unable to hold an event like commencement fully in-person.

Q: How can family and friends watch the ceremony?
A: Families are invited to watch the ceremony live at or on the GC Facebook page. If guests are unable to watch the live stream, a recorded version of the ceremony will be available soon after the ceremony.

Q: Can my family and friends still visit me on campus?
A: The GC campus is not closed (though many buildings are). Families and friends are welcome to enjoy our campus outdoors throughout the weekend while following our Big Four guidelines, which includes wearing masks and physical distancing.

Q: What if family/friends have gotten a vaccine?
A: We’re glad you’re vaccinated! Unfortunately, the logistics of determining who is vaccinated in order to allow them into the ceremony would be too difficult. We made the decision to keep it to graduates and faculty to keep things simple.

Q: What will the virtual ceremony be like?
A: The ceremony will look very similar to a commencement held under normal circumstances. All graduates in the class of 2021 will be able to walk across the stage in their cap and gown as their name is read, receiving a place-holder diploma in a folder, similar to other years. However, Graduates will be physically distanced and face masks will be worn, and other safety precautions will be in place. Graduates and faculty & staff will be the only in-person attendees.

Q: What other events are being planned?
A: Several in-person events for graduates, including a Senior Showcase, Baccalaureate Service and department receptions are being planned. Visit for the full schedule. These events will be live-streamed for friends & families.

Q: What if there’s a COVID-19 spike before commencement?
A: Goshen College continues to monitor the campus and local COVID-19 numbers, and all plans are subject to change based on the pandemic outlook. Goshen College is committed to keeping our community safe, and will communicate directly with graduates if plans change.


Frequently asked questions about graduation for other years:

Q: Who can “walk” in commencement?
A: Seniors and graduate degree candidates who are on track to complete a degree by May, August or December of this year. All must apply for a degree date through GC Online.

Q: Are seniors required to participate in commencement activities?
A: All graduates are expected and strongly encouraged to participate. Please reply to the survey sent to you via email to indicate your commencement attendance plans.

Q: Where can I buy graduation announcements/invitations?
A: A digital graduation announcement/invitation is available here (.PDF).

Q: What should I wear for commencement?
A: Academic regalia (gown, cap and tassel) is to be worn by all graduates and is provided by GC.  Undergraduate gowns are made from natural wood sources and will break down in the soil within one year, should you choose to throw it away. Master’s degree graduates will receive hoods at commencement but will need to return the gown and cap immediately following the ceremony.

Q: What is baccalaureate?
A: Baccalaureate is a worship service specifically planned by and for graduates and their families. Graduates are encouraged to attend and sit with their families and friends. There will be no formal processional at baccalaureate.

Q: Do I need tickets for guests who attend commencement?
A: No tickets are necessary. Seating is first-come; first-served. Doors of the Recreation-Fitness Center will open at 2:15 p.m. Graduates will line up in the Union hallway for the processional at 2:40 p.m. The commencement ceremony begins at 3 p.m.

Q: Will I receive my diploma at commencement?
A: You will receive a diploma cover in the ceremony. The actual diploma will be mailed in early June for May candidates. August grads’ diplomas will be available in the Registrar’s Office during August and, if not picked up, will be mailed to your permanent address. Student accounts must be paid in full to receive a diploma. Attractive frames, specially designed for Goshen diplomas, are available for purchase in the bookstore.

Q: My family/friends are coming from out of town. Where can they locate information about lodging and find directions to campus?
A: Travel instructions, including accommodations in Goshen, can be found at For accommodations and restaurants in the area, visit the Good of Goshen website.

Q: Where should guests park?
A: Guests may park in the lots next to the Music Center or College Mennonite Church (or in any other area designated for visitor parking). The Rec-Fitness Center parking lot will be available only for handicap accessible parking, not the general public.

Q: Is child care provided during commencement weekend?
A: No, Goshen College does not provide this service.